SWABI, July 6: The tobacco purchasing companies would buy non-recommended variety (NRV) of flue-cured Virginia tobacco at Rs10 less than the Rs141 per kilogramme rate fixed for the recommended variety (RV) of the crop during current season, sources told Dawn here on Saturday.

They claimed that the issue of NRV and RV was resolved when representatives of the national and multinational companies, growers’ leaders and Pakistan Tobacco Board officials met at the board office, Peshawar, on Friday.

Representatives of the tobacco growers walked out from the meeting when it was proposed that the companies would procure the NRV at lower rate, said the sources. However, they were wooed back into the meeting.

The growers said that there was no section of NRV and RV in the tobacco marketing law, MLO-487, and the entire issue had been created just to exploit them and purchase tobacco from them on throw away prices. The companies’ representatives said that they wanted improved quality to compete in the international market.

The farmers said that according to the MLO-487 the companies could not buy tobacco from them at the prices lower than the previous year. Last year, minimum and maximum price was Rs121 and Rs137 per kg, respectively, and for the current season the minimum announced price is Rs141 per kg.

The growers said that the companies would indulge in violation of the law by buying the NRV at lower price. They have demanded of the government to ensure the implementation of the tobacco marketing law and protect their financial interests.

BY-ELECTIONS: The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan will soon make a decision on award of ticket for NA-13, Swabi-II, for by-election scheduled for August 22 and several candidates have already been interviewed for the purpose by senior leadership, sources said.

When contacted, Mohammad Sohail Yousufzai, district president of the party, said that three days ago the top leaders, including Imran Khan, Asad Qaisar and Atif Khan, conducted interviews of four short-listed candidates and announcement about the final candidate would be made by the party chairman very soon.

Mr Youufzai said that the four candidates for NA-13 ticket included Rangaiz Khan, former contesting candidate from PK-36; senior leader Abdul Sattar Khan; Aqib Khan, brother of Asad Qaisar; and he himself.

Answering a question, he said that the party chief was being included in order to reach an amicable decision over the final candidate. Mr Qaisar had vacated the NA-13 constituency after winning it in May 11 elections. —Correspondent

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