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Growers protest against merciless millers; police called

March 14, 2019

NAUNDERO:The sugarcane growers are still unfortunate despite their 11-day protest as their voice has not yet been heard by any authority in Sindh which can force the Naundero Sugar Mill authorities to clear their three-year old dues outstanding since 2017.

On Thursday, they took out a large rally which started marching from Municipal Chowk. When they reached Benazir Bhutto Press Club, they held a protest demonstration. They were chanting slogans in favour of their demands while holding banners in their hands. They again marched towards sugar mill where they staged a sit-in front of the mill gate.

They warned that if their dues are not cleared, they will not only commit self-immolation but will also break mill’s gate and enter the premises to get payments. The growers were also joined by Shahehri Action Committee leaders, political and non-political forces. They included Ghulam Qadir Shah, Ismail Jamali, Nazir Jamali, Hayat Brohi, Ghulam Hyder Narejo, Javed Bhutto and others. While addressing the participants they said that our protest is peaceful so far but our patience should not be taken as our weakness.

They said: “When sugar is sold on cash payment basis, then why the old dues of growers are not being cleared. Cane is procured and crushing is still underway, then denying payment to them could only be described as wickedness.”

They said if outstanding dues are not cleared then they will burn themselves for which sugar mill authorities will be responsible. Mill authorities called police as they feared that the agitating growers will enter the premises and may harm the mill’s property but growers protest was peaceful hence the cops returned.

Rao Shafique, General Manager, when contacted told newsmen that we have great respect for growers, last year when we started payments our owners were arrested and our total accounts since then stand seized. He said if any of them is granted bail on the next hearing then all payments will be made. To a question Rao replied that sugarcane is procured and sugar is produced now through third party adding had our accounts been open today we would not have allowed third party to run the mill.

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