© Simon Buxton / Anti-Slavery

Entrepreneurs from Asaka are forced to pay a “cotton tax”

This message was sent to Ozodlik by one of its readers from the Asaka district. He/she complains that the school administration forcibly collects money for the cotton harvest:

“Let me tell you what is going on in the Asaka district. My family and me took a loan from the bank for our start-up company. We started some small entrepreneurship by opening a shop. We have two children. Our older son is a second-year student at college, while the younger one in sixth grade at school.

There was a parents gathering at the school where my youngest son goes to. All parents were asked to contribute money for sending hired workers to the cotton harvest. Well, we also gave money, as cotton is the ‘national wealth’ of our country. However, we had a gathering organized by the tax office today. And at that gathering, we were told to pay 100 thousand Som of taxes for cotton harvest.

Would you say that this is right? Shall we pay an interest rate to the bank, make payments to our son’s school for the cotton harvest, pay the rent for our shop, or pay a ‘cotton tax’?

I am so disappointed. I am unhappy with living in this corrupt country.”