On September 22 the head of administration of the Kyzyryk district in the Surkhandarya region of Uzbekistan made chairmen of the local mahalla (Neighborhood ) and public organizations gather for an evening meeting at the cotton gin plant. The were also forced to pick cotton until 3:30 am. The head of the district threatened the cotton plant accountant with prisonif he did not include non-existent cotton in his accounts.
Harvesting Cotton in the Light of Tractor Headlights
According to “Ozodlik”, a source close to the ginneries in the Kyzyryk district of the Surkhandarya region, the head of the district, Olim Alimardonov, made local governors (mahalla) and directors of some public organizations pick cotton during the night of September 22.
A resident who participated in the meeting told Ozodlik on September 22:
„Every evening the local governor (hokim) holds a conference at the cotton gin plant. I can not tell you how he insults the people gathered at the meeting. Last night, he drove the chairmen of the local district to the cotton field with their secretaries and staff of different organizations, saying that they were being sent to pick cotton because they did not have enough people. He forced them to pick cotton in the headlights of tractors until 3:30 am. Next week Shavkat Mirziyayev, the acting president, is going to visit us. That is why he is in such a panic.”
Accountants Threatened at Ginning Factory
One of the farmers from Kyzyryk reported that the district governor (hokim), Olim Alimardonov, is forcing local farmers to fulfil the quota by buying cotton and demanding that the ginning factory accountants include it in their accounts to make up for the deficit in the quota.
On September 20, 50 students harvested 600 kilograms of cotton from an area of 18 hectares and on September 21, 400 kilograms from the same area. There is no more cotton in the fields. An employee of the cotton plant M.Sh. (the name has been withheld for security reasons – Ed.) said “this year, there is not much cotton in the fields”. He sent the regional headquarters the exact amount of harvested cotton. “The local governor however ordered him to ascribe cotton, but he refused”, said a local farmer, who asked not to disclose his name for security reasons.
“It is difficult to achieve even one quarter of the quota”
According to the official close to cotton headquarters, the district is able to produce only 10 tons of cotton from the 40 tons demanded by the state.
Some farmers are already sowing wheat instead of cotton. But the local governor wants to fulfil the plan on paper using all means according to a source at “Ozodlik”.
Throughout the day on September 22, our radio reporter repeatedly tried to call the local governor, Olim Alimardonov, or another official of the district administration. However all attempts by our reporter to get through to the Kyzyryk local authority area were unsuccessful.
September 22, 2016