LAHORE - Pakistan Kissan Ittehad Ch Anawar faction has launched a protest movement against delay in start of sugarcane crushing by sugar mills.

The farmers gathered in different cities of Punjab on Tuesday and started march towards Lahore but they were stopped near Patoki by police. PKI President Ch Anwar said the farmers will record their protest at any cost in Lahore and present their demands to the government. He asked police not to stop the peaceful protester to move ahead as it was their legal right to record their agitation against sugar millers.

PKI spokesman Haseeb Anwar said there were more than 34 sugar mills in Punjab and none of them had so far started crushing while according to law they were bound to start crushing in mid of November.

Meanwhile Khalid Khokhar faction of PKI also demanded sugar millers to immediately start crushing. For the purpose, the PKI also approached the government. PKI General Secretary Ch Umair Masood said if the government failed to force sugar millers to start crushing then the PKI will start powerful protest across the country. He said the PKI also demanded government decrease fertilizers rate and at least brought them at level of previous government tenure.

He said the Urea price was Rs1,300 per 50kg bag during PML-N government which touched now Rs1,800 while DAP gone up from

Rs2,400 to Rs3,800 within few months.

Furthermore, Jamaat-i-Islami Secretary General Liaqat Baloch said that the sugar mills owners were continuing the exploitation of the sugar cane growers by delaying crushing despite the start of the crushing season.

 In a statement here on Tuesday, he said that the tussle between the sugar mills owners, the government and government institutions was causing heavy losses to the growers. Sugar cane was lying outside sugar mills and it was losing weight to the detriment of the growers. However, he said that the government and the mill owners remained unmoved. 

Liaqat Baloch warned that if the government attitude did not change, the JI would join the growers and stage a sit-in outside the echelons of power.  He also  stressed upon the mills owners to purchase sugarcane at the rate fixed by the government and also clear their arrears. 

He said that the government always made promises of solving the problems of the growers and of providing them necessary facilities but these promises were not fulfilled.

He said that although agriculture was the backbone of the country’s economy yet every government had hurt it and the agriculture was on the decline.

IFTIKHAR 04-12-2018