MULTAN - Former National Assembly speaker and progressive grower Syed Fakhar Imam pointed out on Tuesday that the claim made by the Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association (PGA) in its press release regarding likely production of 15 million cotton bales was highly exaggerated. The motive behind releasing this press release, which appeared on October 23, is to suppress the cotton rates and deprive the growers of receiving a fair price for their produce, he added while talking to the journalists. He lamented that the monopolistic attitude of cotton buyers was exploiting the growers from getting a fair return as the input cost of all items like fertilizer, diesel, electricity, pesticide and the farm machinery and harvesting charges had increased greatly this year compared to last year as GST had been imposed on sale of many items. He said that the losses estimated for the cotton crop in Sindh were approximately two million bales and for Punjab one million bales. Giving detail, he added that the country had so far produced 4.8 million cotton bales till October 15 which was 13 percent higher than last year. He said that the recent boost in the production was because cotton was cultivated on about four lac more acres of land compared to last year. However, due to excessive rains in Sindh and Punjab in September, the cotton production may not be as high as predicted earlier, he added. He pointed out that cotton and its products contributed 62 percent of Pakistans total exports while 40 percent of Pakistans industrial labour was also employed by the textile sector. He added that 65 percent of local oil seed production was dependent on cotton seed oil. Therefore, it is imperative for Pakistans future economic growth and prosperity that a fair and just environment be created for the growers to sustain cotton production in the future. He urged upon the Competition Commission of Pakistan to urgently launch enquiry into this monopolistic attitude of the ginners, traders and spinners to protect the rights of the growers to get a fair price.