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Cotton Harvest Derails Uzbek Transport

The cotton harvest in Uzbekistan has nearly brought public transport to a halt in and around the capital, Tashkent. Public buses have been repurposed to transport people to and from the fields, while most roads are closed to ordinary traffic. Many of the laborers are college students and school children sent to work the cotton fields during the harvest. Photos by RFE/RL's Uzbek Service

Travelers wait at a bus stop in Tashkent. With public buses rerouted to carry workers to the cotton fields, fewer are running their regular routes, meaning longer waits.
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Travelers wait at a bus stop in Tashkent. With public buses rerouted to carry workers to the cotton fields, fewer are running their regular routes, meaning longer waits.

Students gather clothes and food at their university before boarding buses to the cotton fields, as arranged by their school's administration.
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Students gather clothes and food at their university before boarding buses to the cotton fields, as arranged by their school's administration.

College students wait to be transported to their temporary assignments as farm workers.
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College students wait to be transported to their temporary assignments as farm workers.

Students head to the fields.
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Students head to the fields.

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A student gathers his belongings for the upcoming weeks of hard work.
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A student gathers his belongings for the upcoming weeks of hard work.

Officials in Jizzakh District have deployed trucks to transport people to the fields, saying that there are not enough buses.
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Officials in Jizzakh District have deployed trucks to transport people to the fields, saying that there are not enough buses.

The trucks carry as many as 140 people, with no place to sit and nothing to hold on to while traveling.
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The trucks carry as many as 140 people, with no place to sit and nothing to hold on to while traveling.

Some buses, like this one in the Sirdarya region, receive a police escort.
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Some buses, like this one in the Sirdarya region, receive a police escort.

Travelers gather at an increasingly crowded bus stop.
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Travelers gather at an increasingly crowded bus stop.

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