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A large rally of farm workers demanded of the government to increase the procurement rate of sugarcane and ensure start of the crushing season in all sugar mills of Sindh.

The rally was jointly organized by Sindh Agricultural General Workers Union and National Trade Union Federation (NTUF) which started from the Hyderabad Press Club (HPC) and led by Sindh Agricultural General Workers Union general secretary Lal BuxLalan. A large number of peasants and farm workers, carrying flags and banners, attended the rally and raised slogans in favour of their demands.

Addressing the rally, speakers said that the sugarcane mafia is once again using its old tactics to delay crushing season and not increasing procurement rate, which has resulted in economic problems for farmers and crisis for the workers of sugar industry. They said the livelihood of at least 250,000 workers is at the stake.

They said that as per the Sindh Sugar Mills Act, it is compulsory for the owners of sugar mills to run their mills from November 30 each year, but so far all sugar mills in the province are closed. They said that under this law a Sugar Board was to be established to set procurement prices and duration of the crushing season, with the provincial agriculture minister as its chairman and with two MPAs and representatives of sugar mills owners and growers as it members; however, so far no such board is set up.

They regretted that the sugar mill mafia is calling the shots, bypassing all rules and laws and the government is playing the role of a silent spectator.

They demanded to set up procurement rate of sugarcane at Rs 250 per Maund and immediately start crushing process in all sugar mills of Sindh province.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2019

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