SWABI: Rejecting the Rs260 per kilogramme price offered by the companies for the next crop, tobacco growers on Wednesday vowed to continue their agitation against the purchasing firms and the Pakistan Tobacco Board (PTB) for their apathy towards their plight.

Leaders of Ittehad Kashtkaran (IK), which is leading the growers’ campaign, said the recommendation of the National Assembly committee on agriculture products to the commerce ministry to fix the minimum indicative price of tobacco at Rs260 per kilogramme was not acceptable to them.

However, they welcomed the parliamentary panel’s direction to the PTB to ensure lifting of all the cured crop from the farmers. They regretted that the PTB had failed to take practical steps for implementation of the tobacco purchasing policy.

Talking to Dawn, growers’ leader Mohammad Ali Dagaiwal said they were pursing the farmers not to cultivate tobacco during the current season as a protest against the PTB and the purchasing firms.

Liaqat Yousafzai, president of Tobacco Growers Association Pakistan, demanded Rs300 per kilogramme price for the next crop as expenditures on growing the crop had increased manifold.

Meanwhile, it has been learnt that neither the PTB nor the companies have issued the tobacco demand for the year 2022, which is violation of tobacco marketing law MLO 487. The growers said it was the PTB’s duty to ask the companies to issue tobacco purchasing demand in time.

MAN KILLED: A passerby was killed and another injured when two groups exchanged fire near Naro village on Wednesday, the police said.

SHO Swabi city police station Ajab Durrani said the crossfire took place between groups led by Badri Khan and Wasim Khan. He said Naveed Khan, a rickshaw driver who was passing through Swabi-Mardan Road at time of the firing, received a bullet. He was rushed to the Bacha Khan Hospital Complex where doctors pronounced him dead.

SHO Durrani said the injured person, identified as Mohammad Wasim, was also taken to Bacha Khan Hospital. He said the deceased rickshaw driver belonged to Karnal Sher Killi area.

The police officer said Badri Kha, a guard at government postgraduate college, had denied Wasim Khan the entry to the institution a few days ago.

Published in Dawn, December 9th, 2021

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