SAHIWAL: A delegation of the Pakistan Kissan Ittehad (PKI) called on Punjab Chief Secretary Kamran Ali Afzal at the Civil Secretariat in Lahore and later announced postponing its protest here on Monday.

On the other hand, the government blocked farmers’ processions coming to Lahore and arrested scores of participants.

Talking to the delegation, the chief secretary said the doors of his office were open for everyone and there was no justification to come on the streets.

He said the government was taking steps to resolve the problems of the farmers and the provincial administration was already in contact with the federal government on the issue of wheat support price and overbilling in electricity bills.

The chief secretary said the administration was working hard for the availability of urea at a fixed price for the wheat crop and no one would be allowed to exploit the growers through profiteering.

PKI’s Khalid Hussain Butt apprised the chief secretary about the problems of farmers.

The delegation included President Umair Masood, Iftikhar Ahmed, Mehr Akmal and Muhammad Hussain while the additional chief secretary, agriculture secretary, Lahore division commissioner and deputy commissioners of Okara and Kasur were also present.

Sources said district administrations of Okara and Kasur stopped more than 2,000 farmers at different intersections of Lahore-Multan road late on Sunday.

PKI’s Muhammad Hussain said the police arrested more than 300 farmers. Most of the farmers were travelling on tractor-trolleys, cars, vans and trucks.

The PKI said farmers were coming from Sahiwal, Okara, Bahawalnagar and Pakpattan districts to attend the Lahore protest.

Malik Yasin, PKI leader from Deepalpur, blocked Okara bypass and Joriyan Pull in protest at farmers’ arrests.

Farmers demand Rs2,200 per maund wheat support price, availability of fertiliser at controlled rate, and fixing of electricity rate for agriculture at Rs5.46 per unit.

Published in Dawn, December 21st, 2021

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