Wednesday December 08, 2021

Punjab govt notifies amended sugar factories law

May 20, 2021

LAHORE: The Punjab government has notified the Sugar Factories (Control) (Amendment) Act 2021 after passing it from the Punjab Assembly which turned into the favour of sugar millers rather than sugarcane growers.

According to the promulgated act, the concerns of sugar millers have been addressed as under the amended act, sugar mills have got relaxation of clearing the sugarcane dues by June 30 every year. Further, according to the act, mills are allowed to start every crushing season by November 30 while in an earlier ordinance, the government had been empowered to start the crushing season in the notified time.

Similarly, the act has protected mill owners as the amended clauses of the act make violations of the act as a bailable offence. Earlier, it was non-bailable. Further, the imposition of fine has been changed.

Cane Commissioner Punjab Zaman Wattoo, when contacted, said a copy of the act passed by the Punjab Assembly has not been provided to the department since May 4. He said the department is unaware of the modalities of the act. “As the act has provided cover to sugar mills and the government could not take any action and asked the mills to clear the sugarcane growers’ dues till June 30 so the Cane Commissionerate canceled all complaints,” he added.

Interestingly, the act was passed on May 4 on the Private Members Business Day of the assembly while no copy of the bill was given to the assembly members and members of a special committee constituted for amending the Sugar Factories (Control) Ordinance.

After concerns raised by the stakeholders and the opposition in the Punjab Assembly, Chief Minister Usman Buzdar took notice of the act. According to a tweet by the CM, he principally decided to withdraw unnecessary amendments to the act.