ISLAMABAD - The tobacco growers have rejected the current rate fixed by the Pakistan To­bacco Board (PTB) and to­bacco companies for their crops, and demanded to increase rates according to cost of production.

The tobacco growers set up a protest cam­paign under the ban­ner of Kashtkar Coordi­nation Council at Aman Chowk in Swabi on Tues­day to record agitation against the existing rate, which according to them was tantamount to their economic murder.

The protesting farmers said the rate of tobacco has been fixed at Rs203 per kilogramme, which is too low as compared to expenses made on grow­ing the crops. They said the country is witness­ing an unprecedented wave of inflation recent­ly and rates of everything are going high. In this sit­uation, they said, the ex­penses on growing to­bacco crops have also increased enormously.

The protesters de­manded that the tobac­co companies must also take steps for education, healthcare and other fa­cilities for farmers and their children under Cor­porate Social Responsi­bility (CSR).

They said they have no other source of income and damage to tobac­co farming would mean damage to thousands of families of farmers asso­ciated with it.

The farmers demand­ed the PTB and tobacco companies to increase rates according to cost of production. They also warned to launch a prov­ince-wide protest move­ment if their demand was not accepted.

ATP urges to expedite legislative process

Amun Taraqqi Par­ty (ATP) Chairman Mu­hammad Faiq Shah has stressed the need to expe­dite legislative process in the National Assembly in the interest and favour of masses and get consensus on all national issues.