On September 7, students from the Karshi City Pedagogical University were mobilized to the cotton fields. According to a student speaking to an UGF monitor, it is compulsory work – if the students refuse to participate, they are threatened with expulsion from University. Students are forced to write a statement that they go to harvest cotton “voluntarily”, i.e. on their own volition, to “help farmers and the country gather the cotton crop”. People suffering from illnesses must provide a health certificate. But only seriously ill students are exempted from the mobilization: cores have recently undergone a surgery and pregnant students.
On September 8, students from the Karshi University of Agriculture and Irrigation. According to college teachers speaking to one of our monitors, this year, students of colleges and lyceums of the Karshi region will not go to pick cotton. “The students said that in memory of the president, they are exempted. Allegedly, the president wanted to release colleges and lyceums from the cotton this year”.
However, according to a teacher of the Karshi City Pedagogical University, this most likely refers only to city colleges and high schools. Moreover, the possibility of mobilizing college students will depend on the weather conditions.
4 employees of public institutions which are associated with UGF monitors stated that the first group of employees had already left to pick cotton for 15 days. Some workers decided to pay themselves free. This costs 200-250.000 Soum for 15 days. “But not everyone can afford this amount due to the cash shortages. Therefore, many are forced to go, or at least send relatives”.
The Makhalla committees in Karshi city received an order by the city administration to find 30 to 50 cotton pickers (depending on the number of Makhalla residents). The Makhalla should employ housewives and unemployed residents in the Makhalla to pick cotton. The Makhalla must also collect money from entrepreneurs working on their territory, to cover the needs of cotton farmers or payments for food, such as rice, pasta, canned food and flour.
Source: UGF monitor report.
September 13, 2016