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LAHORE: Terming the commencement of sugarcane crushing season by the Sindh government as a good step, Special Assistant to CM for Information and spokesperson to the Punjab Government Hasaan Khawar said on Monday that the federal and the Punjab governments have given a subsidy of Rs 5 billion on sugar.

Talking to media, here today, he said the Sindh government shouldn’t create hurdles as these obstacles are not in the way of the PTI government but in the way of the people, he maintained. The start of the crushing season in Punjab has already been announced; the crushing season in South Punjab will start from November 15 while it will begin from November 20 in the rest of the province, he added.

Talking about the current situation of sugar, Hasaan Khawar vehemently denied the rumours about shortage or unavailability of sugar and said the daily consumption of sugar by domestic consumers in Punjab is 28,000 tonnes. We have double the stock of sugar for the next 15 days, he continued. At present, there is a private stock of 46,000 tonnes of sugar in the market, he said. About 100,000 tonnes of stock is also available with the government of Punjab and utility stores located in the province. Some stock is available in the warehouses of the districts under the supervision of Deputy Commissioners, added SACM. Another 40,000 tonnes is reaching Pakistan by ship, he appended. He said the federal government has imported 150,000 tonnes of sugar and the Punjab government has also imported 150,000 tonnes of sugar, out of which, 80,000 tonnes have been sold.

Hasaan Khawar said the Punjab government was managing a special campaign to ensure the availability of sugar at fixed rates. During the last three days, 1933 sites were inspected. 1738 hoarding complaints were checked; 18 FIRs were registered, 63 warehouses were sealed, 21,000 bags of sugar were seized and mills were fined Rs. 3.5 lakh. The sugar mills case was pending in a court of law. The court’s order restrains the government from forcibly taking stock from sugar mills. Therefore, we are acting in the light of court orders and within the ambit of the law, he maintained.

The Punjab government’s spokesman said there are three aspects to the government’s enforcement strategy; we are talking with sugar mills while some mills have agreed to voluntarily hand over their stock at a controlled price ex-mill to the government at Rs. 85 per kg. The government was also initiating monitored sales with some mills by taking dealers to such sugar mills to buy stocks at a controlled rate to sell them in the market. Besides, our operation against hoarding is also going on, he informed the media.

Hasaan Khawar said hoarders and black marketers were spreading rumours that the sweetness of imported sugar was low which is totally wrong. The only difference is that the imported sugar is refined while the local sugar is thick. Both types of sugar taste the same, he said. Imported sugar is available at Rs. 90 per kg throughout Punjab. Citizens should buy imported sugar and prevent black marketing. Buying imported sugar will shut the door to smuggling and hoarding, he said.

The government has to face such issues whenever it stands up to protect the rights of the people vis-a-vis the forces of the status quo and the mafia. The government was solving the problems of the people and taking every step to controlling the price of sugar, concluded the SACM.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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