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Saturday December 04, 2021

Punjab govt provides relief to all sugar mills

August 13, 2021
Punjab govt provides relief to all sugar mills

LAHORE: The Punjab government has given relief to all the sugar mills of the province by asking them to submit surety bonds.

Earlier, the LHC had given 16 petitioner sugar mills of the Punjab relief on a petition against the ex-mill sugar price fixed by the provincial government, in the light of the price fixed by the Ministry of Industry and Production (MoIP). The prime minister had asked the MoIP and Punjab government to fix the sugar prices and provide relief to the public. However, the Punjab government, deviating from the PM’s policy, is providing relief to all industry rather to the petitioner sugar mills.

According to the LHC order, “Subject to furnishing of a surety bond by the petitioner individually in favor of cane commissioner regarding payment of differential amount of sugar as per the impugned notification and the sale price, no coercive measure shall be adopted against them by the respondent till the next date of hearing. The cane commissioner, Punjab, shall ensure the maintenance of record relating to supply of sugar by the petitioner in terms of Sugar (Supply-Chain Management) Order, 2021 dated 25.3.2021.”

However, Cane Commissioner Punjab, Muhammad Zaman Wattoo, ignoring the LHC orders, has given relief to all sugar mills of the province instead of the petitioner sugar mills only. According to the letter No C.C.WP-48553/21 dated August 4 2021 to all the sugar mills in the Punjab, he asked surety bonds by the sugar mills as per the direction of the LHC.

The cane commissioner directed the sugar mills of the Punjab to provide the surety bonds immediately. “You are further directed to provide information of sale of sugar on the attached Performa daily to this office on email and through courier service,” he directed to the sugar mills of the province.

According to the LHC orders, the surety bond is about the available sugar stock and quantity of sugar the petitioner sugar mills sold higher than the price fixed by the government since the date the price is fixed. The mills are allowed to sell the sugar at whatever price till the court decision. If the court decided that the price calculated and fixed by the MoIP is correct, then according to the surety bond, the mills will liable to submit the differential price to the national kitty.

When contacted, Cane Commissioner Punjab, Muhammad Zaman Wattoo admitted that a letter was issued to all sugar mills instead of the petitioner sugar mills only. However, he said a corrigendum was issued in this regard. said the letter was issued to all the mills since the department did not have copy of the writ petition.

Contrary to his claim, the sugar mills industry officials said that no corrigendum letter was received by them so far. Usually, the cane commissioner’s department quickly issues a letter and orders and circulates it through emails as well, they said adding that no updated letter or orders had reached