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Commissioner Mardan takes notice on complaints of tobacco growers

ISLAMABAD: Commissioner Mardan Muntazir Khan while taking notice on complaints of tobacco growers regarding outstanding dues with Universal Tobacco Company (UTC) has directed revenue officer to halt purchasing process of Index Tobacco Company (ITC) until they address issues of tobacco growers of the area.

A delegation of tobacco growers from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa including representatives of tobacco growers and office bearers of Industrial Labourers Organisation held a meeting with Commissioner Mardan Muntazir Khan at his office in presence of Labour Inspector and representatives of Tobacco Multinational Companies of Pakistan, says a press release.

The visiting delegates included Kisan Board Pakistan, Mehnatkush Labour Federation, Sarhad Agricultural and Rural Development Organisation and Organisation for Growers Rights Protection.

Provincial President of Kisan Board Pakistan Rizwanullah, General Secretary Abdul Samad Safi and Information Secretary Farhad Ali on behalf of tobacco growers briefed commissioner Mardan on complaints of tobacco growers. They informed that Kisan Board has imposed fine at Universal Tobacco Company for not paying payments of tobacco growers.

The UTC Management on complaints of tobacco growers has sought time relaxation till January 2021 for payment to tobacco growers. The cheques that UTC and ITC has delivered to tobacco growers were bounced and dishonoured. Following these issues any payment to tobacco growers has not been made from UTC and ITC management.

On the complaints of tobacco growers organisations, Muntazir Khan has instructed the revenue officer to halt purchasing process from ITC until and unless they make clearance with outstanding dues of tobacco growers.

Meanwhile President Mehnatkush Labour Federation and General Secretary Sherzada also informed Muntazir Khan that Tobacco Multinational Companies Pakistan and Rehman Cotton Mills Management have removed workers from jobs. These tobacco multinational companies without any prior notice removed 141 workers from employment by displaying list in morning at their main gate and workers were instructed to collect cheques from tent installed outside factory gate.

They also removed permanent employees and hired new employees on contract illegally.

Similarly, Rehman Cotton Mills Management without any issue removed local workers from jobs and hired workers from other parts of the province illegally violating rights of local labourers.

Rehman Cotton Mills Management and Tobacco Multinational Companies Pakistan also removed Labour Union president and other office bearers for raising voice for the labourers.

On these complaints Commissioner Mardan Muntazir Khan also instructed labour inspector to submit reports on removal of labourers in next 15 days.

General Secretary Sarhad Agricultural and Rural Development Organisation Hussein Ahmed also informed Commissioner Mardan regarding usage of banned pesticides on the crops of sugarcane and tobacco in the area.

Meanwhile President for Organization of Growers Rights Protection Naimat Shah Roghani thanked commissioner Mardan for taking notice on the issues of tobacco growers and industrial labourers of KP. Muntazir Khan assured the visiting delegates of tobacco growers and industrial workers that their rights will be ensured and action will be taken to ensure payments of tobacco growers and for reinstatement of removed workers.

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