SWABI: Tobacco growers blocked a road here on Tuesday for three hours to protest reduction in purchasing centres by the national and multinational companies.

The growers gathered in front of the purchasing centre of a multinational firm in Jaganat area, blocking the Chota Lahor-Yar Hussain Road. They chanted slogans against the government, Pakistan Tobacco Board and the firms.

The protesters said the companies had drastically reduced the number of tobacco purchasing centres in Swabi. The growers also assailed their union leaders for failing to take up the issue with the buying firms.

They said the multinational company had opened only one point for purchasing tobacco bales at Jaganat, and demanded of it to run two points to ease their suffering in hot and humid weather.

They said farmers of various regions were told by the company officials that they should bring tobacco to only Jaganat centre, where they usually stuck in rush and had to wait for hours in the scorching heat. They said there were also no arrangements of shelter.

A farmer belonging to Maneri region told Dawn that hurdles in selling their tobacco produce might force farmers to switch to growing other crops.

The protesters opened the road when the company’s officials assured them of addressing their issue.

Published in Dawn, August 4th, 2021

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