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January 3, 2015

Punjab PA fails to debate issues of sugarcane growers


January 3, 2015

LAHORE: Punjab Assembly again miserably failed on Friday to hold a debate on vitally important issues faced by sugarcane growers as the House was lacking quorum and Speaker had to adjourn it for Monday after making several attempts to ensure it to be in quorum.
When the House began the debate on sugarcane growers’ sufferings due to non-payment or under-payment of their dues by the millers, it already lacked quorum and barely 35 to 40 members were present.
Food Minister Bilal Yasin opened the debate and only one member from Opposition could be able to participate when another member from the opposition benches, Sardar Shahabuddin indicated that the House was lacking quorum.
The Speaker rang the bells for 10 minutes but in vain. Then the proceedings were adjourned for 15 minutes to allow some time to the government to muster its members inside the House. But this attempt also failed, forcing the Speaker to adjourn the House.
This debate had earlier been postponed in the similar manner on previous Friday when the House was badly lacking quorum and the government was unable to open the debate. The situation forced the speaker to adjourn the proceedings for next week. To the bad luck of the growers, their problems could not be discussed this Friday also.
Earlier, Food Minister Bilal Yasin told the House that the Punjab government had ensured maintenance of the official support price of sugarcane Rs180 per 40kg by the sugar millers in the province despite that the sugar millers of Sindh had played the role of spoiler by reducing the price to Rs155 per 40kg. He said though some sugar millers of Punjab had tried to follow the suit but the government showed no flexibility and enforced tough measures so that the support price could not be violated. He said 42 sugar mills in Punjab out of total 44 were abiding by the policy of purchasing sugarcane at the official support price while only two mills had challenged the support price in the high court and

were not following the government policy. He indicated that this practice was a replica of the Sindh sugar millers who had challenged the price in court and then the Sindh government had issued a notification of reducing the support price to Rs155 per 40kg in the light of an order passed by the high court.

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