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Sugarcane farmers protest delay in crushing

Sugarcane farmers protest delay in crushing

RAHIM YAR KHAN: Hundreds of sugarcane farmers held a protest against the delay in start of crushing season on the Shahi Road and blocked the railway track on the Tranda Sawaye Khan Railway Crossing, 14km from here, on Monday.

The farmer organisations, including the Kissan Board Pakistan (KBP), Agri Forum Pakistan (AFP), Kissan Ittead Pakistan (KIP), Tarqipasand Kashtkaran Punjab (TKP) and Anjuman Kashtkaran Punjab (AKP) had given a call of protest against the delay in sugarcane crushing at five sugar mills of the district. They also demanded the raise in the official rate of sugarcane from Rs180 per maund to Rs250. The leaders of farmer organisations, Chaudhry Riaz Cheema, Ahmed Yar Walana, Faisal Mansoor and Chaudhry Yasin, led the protesters.

The farmers lamented that the crushing season which was supposed to start on Oct 15 had not started yet and the weight of their sugarcane was reducing with each passing day.

The protesters tried to block the road but Riaz Cheema and Chaudhry Yasin stopped them over which protesters criticised them and alleged that they were representatives of district administration. The protesters blocked the main railway track.

A heavy contingent of police was deployed by the district administration. Assistant Commissioner Dr Adnan Khan Bhitani reached there for negotiations with the protesters but they refused to talk to him.

In the evening, Deputy Commissioner Socrat Aman Rana and District Police Officer Zeeshan Asghar went to negotiate with the farmers. The officers assured the farmers the issuance of permits by the mills would start from Nov 21, 2017, however, they did not tell them when the crushing would start. At this, the farmers ended their protest.

Some farmers told the reporters the district administration had planned the protest to support the issue of three shut sugar mills of the ruling party leaders. They said the sugar mills owners within the government and the opposition were all exploiting the farmers.

HOSPITALISED: Two men were hospitalised due to leakage from a liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) cylinder at the Ittehad Energy Pvt Limited near the National Model Farm on national highway, some 30km from here.

According to Rescue 1122, the incident occurred in the morning after the gas leakage started from a valve of a heavy LPG gas storage cylinder. High pressure of gas injured a worker and its fumes affected his colleague. Rescuers reached the spot immediately and controlled the LPG gas leakage after replacing the valve.

Both the workers were shifted to the Sheikh Zayed Medical College Hospital, Rahim Yar Khan.

Published in Dawn, November 21st, 2017

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