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Growers demand implementation of court’s decisions for payment of sugarcane price

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KARACHI: Sindh’s sugarcane growers’ organizations on Tuesday decried over double jeopardy with them as on one hand they are unable to get appropriate rates of their products from sugar mills and on the other hand there is shortage of irrigation water, which has caused them huge financial losses.

Addressing a joint press conference at Karachi Press Club (KPC), the representatives of five growers’ organisations including Sindh Agriculture Research Council, Farmers Organisation Council, Sindh Abadgar Association, Tail Abadgar Association and Hari Abadgar Ittehad urged the Cane Commissioner of government of Sindh to implement the Sindh High Court’s orders regarding sugar mills’ payment to growers.

“We have faced financial hardships due to non payments or low rates delayed payments by sugar mills. Another problems is we are unable to sow next crop due to shortage of irrigation water at the tail-end,” said Ali Palh, a representative of the growers.

Civil society’s leaders Karamat Ali, Qazi Khizar and Shaikh Majeed were also present during the press conference. They also supported the demands of the growers.

Palh said Sindh government had issued a notification, fixing the price of sugarcane at Rs. 182 per maund, but mills refused to start the crushing. Later Sindh High Court fixed the rate at Rs. 172 and then Rs. 160 per maund but even those verdicts were also not implemented. Due to adamant attitude of the sugar mills, the growers are facing hardships. Protests marches, hunger strikes and sit-ins are held across the province, but our problem is not solved.

Currently, the sugar mills are purchasing sugarcane at a rate of Rs. 80 and 90 through their agents. They have stopped directly purchasing sugarcane from growers. The mills have stopped issuing the “Supply Indents” to the growers, they just issue simple chits, in which rates or weights are not written, he added.

Palh said the federal government is providing a subsidy of Rs. 20 billion to sugar mills, which is directly paid to them but they refuse to provide benefit to growers. “We demand the subsidy amount should be directly paid to sugarcane growers,” he added.

He said everyone knows the sugar mills in Sindh are mostly owned by the families of ruling political party, therefore, the provincial government is reluctant to provide any support or relief to the growers.

Talking about the problems of shortage of irrigation water at the tail end of the irrigation system in Sindh, Javed Junejo of Farmers Organisation Council said that small growers are unable to cultivate crops due to acute shortage of irrigation water in canals in Sindh. Even we are unable to receive water for drinking purposes, he added.

He recalled that the Supreme Court of Pakistan, in 2013, had ordered to cancel all water courses, which were getting water directly from the canals, but the Sindh government has not implemented that verdict.

The growers organizations had organized a three-day hunger strike outside Karachi Press Club for their demands and the speakers regretted that the provincial government has not taken any notice of their protests.

They expressed thanks to the civil society activists for extending their support to growers.

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Health

Anti-polio campaign to start in Karachi from today

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KARACHI: Mass immunization campaigns, known as National Immunization Days (NIDs), would be started from today to administer anti-polio drops along with the supplement of Vitamin A to over 2.3 million children up to five years of age in all 188 union councils in the metropolis during seven days.
More than 9000 polio teams will perform their duties in the campaign, it was decided in a meeting chaired by Commissioner Karachi Muhammad Sualeh Farooqui, at his office, said a statement on Sunday. Briefing about security arrangements it was told the meeting that foolproof security arrangements have been made to ensure the security of polio teams. The meeting was attended among others by Municipal Commissioner KMC Dr. Saifur Rehman, all Deputy commissioners, all district and town health officers, officials of Police, Pakistan Rangers, Health
Department, Emergency Operation Centres (EOC). The Commissioner stressed the need to work with the focus based strategies addressing issues specifically in all areas.  He said that there is a great need to work for the improvement of micro plan and communication strategy. He asked the Deputy Commissioners to make all-out efforts to make the campaign result oriented. He urged the parents to cooperate with the polio teams to ensure their children are safe as a vaccine, given to them multiple times, can protect them for life. The Commissioner also stressed the need that efforts should also be made to administer polio drops to school going children of up to five years of age.
It was informed to the meeting that the Education department’s private school secretariat has instructed the concerned private schools to help the administration and cooperate with the polio teams in carrying out their duties for providing children the protection from the crippling decease. It was decided in a meeting that awareness campaign of teachers, as well as parents, would be initiated with the support of school administrations in coordination with the Directorate of the Private Schools. He said that polio eradication was a national cause and it would be the top priority of city administration to carry out its efforts for the elimination of poliovirus.

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Asia

MAJU, Azerbaijan’s varsity sign MoU for academic cooperation

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Fee-free university to open in Pakistan

KARACHI: Mohammad Ali Jinnah University, Karachi (MAJU) and Khazar University, Baku, Azerbaijan have signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for academic cooperation with each other.
MAJU Dean, Faculty of Life Sciences, Dr. Kamran Azim and Rector, Khizar University, Dr.Hassan Niknafs have signed MoU.
This agreement is based on the reciprocity principle and expresses the genuine interest of both universities in exchanging students, scholars, academic information and dual degree programs, said a statement here on Sunday.
As per MoU, MAJU and Khazar University besides exchanging students and faculty/ staff will encourage the development and implementation of visiting scholars/tutors, cultural exchange, cooperative /collaborative research projects, cooperative (joint and double) degree and joint summer programs at respective campuses.  The term of this agreement shall be five academic years that is 2018 to 2023.
Both Universities will cooperate for short term training programs/ projects and service – learning programs, cooperative and exchange lecturing plans and lecture content, conferences and seminars, academic supervision of graduate /post-graduate students.
As per MoU in the event of students exchange, specific arrangement for payment of related expenses, including round-trip travel, board, lodging, tuition and health insurance will be agreed upon by both universities in advance.

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Karachi

President condoles with Amal’s family

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President condoles with Amal’s family

KARACHI: President Dr. Arif Alvi Saturday visited the family of Amal, 10-year-old girl who was killed during an alleged police encounter, and offered his condolences with her father Umar Adil and the bereaved family.
The president, on the occasion, also directed the concerned departments to immediately investigate the incident, said a press release.
On August 13, during an alleged encounter between policemen and the muggers, Amal who was sitting in the back of her family’s car was fatally hit by one of the bullets in Akhtar Colony area.

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