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October 17, 2020

Punjab amends Sugar Factories Act through Ord

Peshawar

October 17, 2020

LAHORE: The Punjab government has introduced another amendment in the Sugar Factories (Control) Act, 1950 (XXII of 1950) through an ordinance just a day before the Punjab Assembly legislative session.

According to the ordinance, the Punjab government amended Section 8 of the Sugar Factories (Control) Act, 1950 (XXII of 1950) deals with notice of crushing. The section stated, “The occupier of a factory shall send a notice to the Cane Commissioner in the prescribed form intimating him of his intention to start crushing one clear month before the crushing starts.”

However, an ordinance promulgated Sugar Factories (Control) (Second Amendment) Ordinance 2020 by the Punjab Governor Ch Sarwar stated, “It was necessary to amend the Sugar Factories (Control) Act, 1950 (XXII of 1950) to modify the provisions relating to crushing of the cane. The ordinance will come into force at once and the occupier of a factory shall start crushing of cane not later than a date specified by the government.”

Introducing another amendment in the Sugar Factories (Control) Ordinance 2020, the Punjab government has made it binding on the sugar millers to start crushing season on a date specified by the government instead of at the will of the millers.

Earlier, the government had made amendments in the Sugar Factories (Control) (Amendment) Ordinance 2020 on September 24, 2020, and amended the Sections 2, 13, 13-A, 14, 21 and 22 of the Punjab Sugar Factories (Control) Act 1950. Just within three weeks of time, the government has made another amendment in the Act through an ordinance.

Apparently, the amendment introduced by the government in the Punjab Sugar Factories (Control) Act 1950 in Section 8 to favour the sugarcane growers as the government now will announce the sugarcane crushing season for the mills which was earlier decided till November 30 through the Act.

However, this amendment can also adversely affect the farmers in future too as the government has to announce the crushing season for the mills and due to any reason the government will unable to announce the crushing season then the millers will further exploit the farmers. As in the recent past the farmers were heavily exploited by the sugar millers, especially in the South Punjab when the government had delayed announcement the minimum sugarcane purchase price (support price) and farmers were compelled to sell their produce lower than the even previous year price.

An official privy to development said that the summary is forwarded to the cabinet to make decision on starting of crushing season in the scheduled meeting on Thursday (today). However, according to announcement made by the Directorate General Public Relations (DGPR), “The 37th meeting of the provincial cabinet to be held on October 15 (today) has been postponed. New dates of the meeting will be announced later.” This shows that the amendment made in the Sugar Factories (Control) Act, 1950 to favour the farmers and protect their interests may also affect them for any reason.