DERA GHAZI KHAN-Makeshift jaggery-making units have been installed along the Dera Ghazi Khan-Multan Road of South Punjab thereby causing frequent traffic jams.

Jaggery production is now in full swing in the sugarcane growing belts of South Punjab. Various cars, buses and other vehicles remain halted at several places where local farmers are making fresh Gur at makeshift jaggery making units.

Dozens of such units have lined up near the sugarcane fields along the highways, it seems like a real sweet time for growers, local residents and passengers who stop there to taste the fresh Gur and sugarcane juice.

Talking to The Nation, Gur maker Malik Bilal said that he uses basic equipment like engine, crusher machine and raw material to make Gur from sugarcane. Sugarcane juice is extracted from manually operated crushers. Gur is prepared by pouring a mixture of sugarcane juice, lady finger plants wood, lime powder, soda and Sodium Hydrosulfite into a huge iron pan. The pan, which is about 5 feet wide, is heated up, with dried sugarcane remains fuelling the fire. The sugarcane juice is boiled and continuously churned till it thickens. Soon after the mixture thickens labourers pour it into a wooden mould. It is then left to cool and harden. After this they start preparing the balls of jaggery after mixture cools down.

Bilal added that he prepared 16kg jaggery from 240kg sugarcane or 100 liters juice of sugarcane in one hour. The price of jaggery ranges from Rs 60-110 per kg. The jaggery available is in two varieties plain, and with dry fruits.

“We all like to have Gur and Kakoo especially in the winter season. It is very attractive sight. It is also nice to see the farmers make it in front of you,” said one of motorists Hassan Malik who stopped at one of the jaggery units with his friends.

Farmers who grow sugarcane too are happy to set up these units on the agricultural fields along the highways. “This activity lasts for over three months in winter. It is good business for us but we have to face competition from other farmers too. At this place, more than fifteen the jaggery units are located very close,” Hasnain, another farmer, said.

Rescuers’ performance reviewed

Rescue 1122 shifted 605 victims of different emergencies to hospitals while first aid was provided for 1,548 affected persons on the spot during November 2016.

This was disclosed by District Emergency Officer Dr Natiq Hayat while he was chairing a monthly performance review meeting at Central Rescue Station at Chowk Churattah DG Khan. He said that a total of 2,111 rescue operations were carried out in District DG Khan and 2,213 affected persons were helped. He added that the average response time in case of emergency was 09:33 minutes. The emergency calls to which Rescue 1122 responded include 481 road accidents, 1,119 medical emergencies, 25 fire incidents, 77 crimes incidents and 408 different rescue operations, Emergency Officer Dr Hussain Mian, In-charge Control Room Abdul Rauf, Rescue and other stations coordinators were also present.