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MARDAN: The officer-bearers and members of Anjuman-i-Kashtkaraan and Kisan Board blocked the Mardan-Katlang road for three hours here on Thursday to record their protest against the alleged anti-growers’ policies of the tobacco board and companies.

The tobacco growers were led by Anjuman-i-Kashtkaraan and Kisan Board leaders, including Rizwanullah, Abdul Bacha, Naemat Shah, Zahir Mohammad and Farhad Ali.

They marched from Jamal Garhi and blocked the Mardan-Katlang road while staging a sit-in in front of the Pakistan Tobacco Company. The growers set fire to a bundle of tobacco as a protest.

Speaking on the occasion, the leaders of tobacco growers alleged the tobacco board and tobacco companies had joined hands to exploit them. They blamed the board and companies for hatching a conspiracy by reducing their quota of tobacco procurement.

They said that the companies had made 17 categories of tobacco crops of which they bought grade-1 and grade-2 tobacco crops and reject the rest. They said that owners of tobacco companies had been exploiting them as they would buy tobacco of their own choice and reject the rest of harvest. They asked the relevant authorities to take the issue seriously and protect the tobacco growers from exploitation by the board and companies.

Published in Dawn, August 18th, 2017