SWABI: The tobacco growers here on Sunday rejected the federal government’s plan to impose additional advance tax of Rs500 per kilogramme on tobacco crop in the upcoming annual budget and warned to march on Islamabad if the decision was not withdrawn.

The issue was discussed at a meeting convened by Tobacco Action Committee, which included Anjuman-i-Kashthkaran, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Kisan Board, Kashthkar Coordination Council (KCC) and various other unions of the growers.

Leaders of various political parties not only participated in the gathering, but supported the growers and opposed the government policy. They warned if the government failed to review its decision of imposing tax they would have no other option, but to march on Islamabad after the budget.

The participants said whenever the government imposed new tax on tobacco that was passed on to the growers by the multinational and national companies and business community.

Masood Jabar of Qaumi Watan Party said harming tobacco growers might lead to unemployment. Rizwanullah, KB provincial president, said that instead of taking steps for the welfare of farmers the government was bent on harming their interests.

Liaquat Yousfzai, KCC central general secretary, said the government should take immediate steps for improving the position of growers. In unanimous resolution, the participants demanded of the KP government to play its due role in resolving issues of tobacco growers.

FUEL STATIONS SEALED: The district administration sealed 15 petrol stations and fined several others here on Sunday.

When contacted, additional deputy commissioner Gohar Ali said the administration had taken notice of petroleum shortage following public complaints.

The consumers were being given petrol in small quantity of one or two litres at some fuel stations. The officials claimed that supply of petroleum products would be improved in the next two days.

Published in Dawn, June 8th, 2020