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“We are Forced to Pick Cotton and Pay for Renovating a Hospital”

“The deputy director of the Central Hospital in the city of Samarkand, Rustam Abduhalikov, makes the heads of all departments pay 500,000 Uzbek Som for the renovation of the hospital building. Where will they get that money from? Of course, they will extort them from regular employees.

In addition, doctors are being forced to go to cotton fields for providing medical care to university students that are currently picking cotton. It is pretty much understandable that students may harm themselves, or that some accident may occur during the cotton harvest. However, the doctors who are taken to the cotton fields for this type of job should be replaced over a certain period of time. They are supposed to work in shifts, so to speak. But, in fact, there is no replacement. This means that the doctors who are taken to the cotton fields to provide health care for cotton pickers, leave their job for longer periods and are not replaced by anyone. The ones who were mobilized on September 15-16th are still there. Is it fair?

And now they are forcing us to pick cotton. We were told to gather at 6 am in front of the building of the Medical Association of Samarkand or to send somebody in our place, i.e. somebody who would be picking cotton on our behalf. That would cost 100 US dollars for 20 days. People who refuse to pick cotton are fired.