RAHIM YAR KHAN -  Three farmer organizations established a protest camp outside RY Khan Press Club for reopening of three sugar mills whose sealing and relocation orders were issued by the Lahore High Court here the other day.

On the other hand, five other farmer organizations declared it a government sponsored protest facilitated by an MNA and MPA of the ruling party.

Talking to media, Anjuman Kashtkaraan Punjab (AKP) district general secretary Aamir Ghani, Agri Forum Pakistan (AFP) district president Mian Faisal, Pakistan Kissan Ittehad (PKI) Rao Ishfaq and Ch Anwar group presidents Mian Tahir and Tariq Nazir and locally-based All Pakistan Kissan Foundation (APKF) general secretary Sajid Pervez said that their protest aimed at reopening of Haseeb Waqas Sugar Mills Muzafargarh, Ittefaq Sugar Mills Bahawalpur and Chaudhry Sugar Mills Rahim Yar Khan.

They claimed that farmers had sowed sugarcane over more than 170,000 acres of land and there would be 8 million tonnes of additional sugarcane crops this year in the district. They said that if the existing five sugar mills would crush the additional sugarcane crops, it would take more time of at least two months and would delay sugarcane procurement. They threatened to block roads and rail traffic at Taranda Sawaye Khan Railway crossing if the closed sugar mills are not opened.

The five other farmer organizations opposed the protest. Their district leaders were of the view that objective of the protest is only to reopen the closed three illegal sugar mills owned by lawmakers of the ruling party.

Kissan Board Pakistan (KBP) president Riaz Cheema, Pakistan Kissan Ittehad (PKI) district organizer Jam MD Ganga, Progressive Growers Association Punjab (PGAP) district chairman Jamil Nasir, Progressive Farmers Association (PFA) district president Javed Iqbal and Kashtkar Ittehad Pakistan (KIP) district organizer Ch Arshad opined that the LHC had ordered to close and relocate these three sugar mills and, therefore, there is no reason to protest against reopening of the mills.

PGAP chairman Jamil Nasir told that the five existing sugar mills are working properly and there is no issue of additional sugarcane crop because assistant commissioners of each tehsil have been monitoring the release of permits regularly.

He said the government is behind this protest because all the closed sugar mills are owned by lawmakers of the ruling party.

A PKI leader, requesting anonymity, alleged that a political business personality of RY Khan district had provided a big amount of money to organize the protest. Besides, some PML-N parliamentarians are also sponsors of the protest, he added. He said that the protesting organizations had failed to gather farmers on December 9, 2017 because majority of the farmers knew their political objectives.

 

 

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