Punjab Govt Auctions off Farms

PAKISTAN - The Punjab government has announced it is to sell off six of its poultry farms established in the 1980s.
calendar icon 29 December 2010
clock icon 4 minute read

The government of Punjab has decided to pull itself out of poultry business by winding up six farms out of the nine established during 1982-85 in as many cities of Punjab, reports The News International of Pakistan.

The government took this decision after accruing huge losses in unnecessary expenditure and staff maintenance for 25 years.

"These farms have outlived their utility, are located within city limits and cause pollution and nuisance to the residents," says a summary sent by Livestock and Dairy Development Department (L&DD) to the chief minister.

The chief minister has ordered the establishment of Punjab Poultry Development Board (PPDB) with the proceeds from the auctions of poultry farms going to it, documents showed.

The department has been allowed to retain three poultry farms at Sargodha, Gujrat and Dina (near Jhelum) since they are situated outside the city limits and are needed for 'research and extension in rural poultry'.

The Punjab government has handed over five of the six poultry farms to Punjab Privatisation Board for their auction.

According to evaluation carried out on behalf of the board, the five poultry farms, situated in Bahawalpur, D G Khan, Bahawalnagar, Attock and Mianwali are worth about 1.2 billion rupees (PKR). The land of these poultry farms is worth between PKR200,000 and PKR600,000 a marla.

The total area of the nine poultry farms is 72 acres (144 kanals). The Punjab government has been allocating tens of millions of rupees to these nine farms, but they failed to break even, while the private sector made fast progress.

The handing over of the sixth poultry farm, situated in Multan over 84 kanals, to PPB has been withheld. The chief minister has ordered it to be spared from coming under the hammer, according to The News International.

Regarding the decision to establish Punjab Poultry Development Board (PPDB), the chief minister has overruled the judgment of Chairman, Planning and Development Board, who advised against creating it.

The chairman, Javaid Aslam, wrote to the chief minister a few months back when the idea of PPDB was still being toyed with that "such interventions envisaging 'development' of any entity are initiated at infancy stage with compatible incentive packages developed for its furtherance. Any expansion in public sector's role like this proposal would be injurious to its current level of development."

In 1977, a similar body, called Punjab Livestock and Poultry Development Board, had been set up, but it was wound up in 1985. The board had established Lahore Milk Plant, an automatic dual feed mill at Shahkot and two other milk production plants.

The plant in Lahore had to be sold to the private sector while the latter has rusted without ever becoming operational.

The Planning and Development Department said about the three farms not being sold that these were not research farms but they were meant for breeding and rearing purposes. Mr Aslam said the poultry sector only needed technical back-stopping along with research but this was already provided by Poultry Research Institute (PRI).

Ignoring the P&D's advice, the chief minister constituted a four-member committee to deliberate upon the modalities for the proposed board. The findings of the committee remained unknown, but after passage of five months, the chief minister approved the proposal to establish the board, revisiting a similar board of 1977.

The Board of Revenue has declared that the state land previously leased out for commercial purposes (for livestock and poultry) now stood resumed, concludes The News International report.

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