SANGLA HILL-The sugarcane growers staged a protest against the mills owners and the Punjab government for delaying the crushing season.

The demonstration was held outside circular Road. Holding banners and placards, the protesters chanted slogans against the mills owners and provincial government.

The growers demanded the government direct the mills owners to start crushing season immediately and increase price of 40 kilogramme sugarcane from Rs180 to Rs300.

Leaders of Anjuman Kashatkaran Pakistan and Sugarcane Growers Association led the protest rally. Sangla Hill, Nankana Sahib is the largest sugarcane growing region, they said.

Addressing the protesters, Advocate Hassan Javaid Chattha, the president of Anjuman, said that mills owners with connivance of the provincial government were exploiting thousands of farmers by delaying crushing season in the province.

He said that farmers were suffering financially and mentally because of the delay. He said that sowing season of wheat had also delayed in the region. He said that farmers should complete sowing of wheat by November 25. `Farmers in this region have yet to start sowing wheat that would affect the yield, he said. Majority of the farmers might not be able to sow wheat, he added.

Hassan said that sugarcane crushing season was supposed to start from November 1. He alleged that government was protecting the interests of the mills owners by not fixing rate of the sugarcane. He said that farmers were given subsidy in India while mill owners victimised them in Pakistan. `Both the owners and the government are hands in gloves, he said. He added that mills owners had planned to delay crushing season to force farmers to sell their crop at throwaway price.

The sugarcane growers decided to gather at Sugar Mills Road on Sunday to hold protest demonstration if the government did not accept their demand. They said that they would proceed to the Provincial Assembly building and then go to Chief Minister Secretariat as a protest.