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August 6, 2020

Farmers demand shifting of fertilizer plant

Lahore

August 6, 2020

LAHORE:Pakistan Kissan Raabita Committee (PKRC) has condemned the arrests and filing of cases against farmers in Sahiwal over protest against ill-effects of toxic waste being drained without treatment by a fertiliser manufacturing plant on human lives and standing crops in the vicinity.

An impartial inquiry into the incident and immediate withdrawal of police cases against the farmers should be given priority, said Farooq Tariq, Pakistan Kissan Raabita Committee General Secretary, here Wednesday.

Farmers were protesting against this fertiliser plant since the day it was installed. This year their protests started from July 23 and no one responded positively. This plant has endangered the lives of the farmers in the vicinity. Despite the reassurances from Deputy Commissioner and DG Environmental Protection Agency, nothing has been done to save the lives and livelihoods of 40,000 people residing in four villages near the plant, he said.

PKRC youth secretary Mohsin Abdali and women secretary Saima Zia said people are falling victim to various respiratory and other diseases like severe coughing, itching in throat, runny ears and nose and other breathing problems.

Constant emission of poisonous gases, solid and liquid wastes disposed untreated are damaging crops, decreasing land fertility and toxifying water and polluting natural habitat over 1,000 acres, they added.

We demand removal of the plant from this land. We also demand compensation for farmers and reclamation of their lost resources, they said. PKRC leaders said the installation of a fertiliser plant at such fertile land is a clear negation of Punjab Environmental Protection Act of 2012 confirmed by site inspection reports of 2019 and 2020 by EPD.

On July 29 many farmers went to the plant and demanded of the management shut it down. However, instead of listening to the protesters, factory management filed criminal case against them which is highly condemnable, they observed.