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February 14, 2020

4,100-ton sugar seized from godowns, sold in open market

Top Story

February 14, 2020

LAHORE: The Punjab government has confiscated over 4,100 tons of sugar from godowns and sold it in the open markets in the ongoing drive against hoarders.

According to official data available with The News, on a single day of February 10, 1,082 raids were conducted across the province in which different hoarded items including 82,153 sugar bags, 10,000 wheat bags, 2,000 pulses bags, 700 rice bags and 2,000 ghee tins were confiscated.

The highest-ever sugar stock was confiscated in Faisalabad, consisting of 15,028 bags, followed by Layyah where 27,700 bags were recovered and sold in the market at official rates.

According to data, 2,900 sugar bags were confiscated in Bahawalnagar, 3,571 in Bahawalpur, 8,560 in Rahim Yar Khan, 2,050 in D G Khan, 150 bags in Rajanpur, 827 bags in Jhang, 4,400 bags in Narowal, 2,000 bags in Gujaranwala, 600 bags in Sialkot, 700 bags in Kasur, 2,000 bags in Sheikhupura, 2,037 bags in Lahore, 2,500 in Vehari 1,000 bags in Lodhran, 750 bags in Okara, 400 bags in Pakpattan, 2,000 bags in Sahiwal, 3,180 bags in Bhakkar, 1,200 bags in Khushab, and 400 bags in Sargodha.

The official market price of sugar is fixed by the government at Rs70 per kg. Thus, if the confiscated sugar is sold at the government rate, Rs287.535 million stocks were sold in the market. Further, if the stockiest were manipulating Rs10 per kilogram profit on the confiscated quantity of sugar, the government managed to deprive them of over Rs40 million.

A senior government official said that ongoing drive against the stockists and hoarders would continue as February 10 drive impacted positively on overall market situation. The government writ was established and deterrence was created. The message was sent to all powerful that the government would go all out to nab them, he said.

Huge sugar stocks were recovered from two districts including Faisalabad and Layyah, as almost 40 per cent of total confiscated sugar was confiscated in these two districts. The official said that the government was further narrowing down investigation to find out the people involved in it. The official admitted that seizure of over 150,000 bags of sugar from Faisalabad and over 27,000 from Layyah was alarming. The recovery alerted the government and administration for increasing the raids and inspection.

Meanwhile, after a meeting between the sugar dealers and the Punjab government, it was agreed that the government would not confiscate the stocks of dealer who would declare their stocks with the government.

A meeting between the sugar dealers and the government officials including additional chief secretary, secretaries of Food and Industries departments and the dealers agreed that no crackdown would be conducted on dealers who would declare their stocks.

Secretary Food Punjab Waqas Ali Mehmood told The News that sugar dealers had agreed to declare their stocks. The government assured them that no action would be taken against the dealers who would declare their stocks.

He said that pricing issue was attached with ex-mill price of sugar mill. “Now we have called the sugar millers on Friday (today) to discuss pricing issue,” he said.

According to the dealers, who attended the meeting, they told the government that they could not sell sugar below than their purchase price. They also agreed to declare their stocks as well.

According to the officials attended the meeting it was made clear to the dealers that the government would not allow any cartel and hoarding of any items including sugar. Further, regular monitoring of sugar will continue. The meeting was told that ample stocks of sugar were available in the country and no one would be allowed to manipulate the situation.

Meanwhile, no trading of sugar was recorded in Akbari Mandi on the second consecutive day while no price was quoted as well. The dealers said that they were waiting for settlement of the issue between the government and millers on price fixation. Once they will fix the pricing issue, normality in sugar market resume, they said.