KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah has increased sugarcane price to Rs182 per maund after growers mounted a protest against the price temporarily fixed at Rs155 by the agriculture department.
Addressing a press conference at the CM House here on Sunday, Mr Shah also announced increase in wheat support price to Rs1,250 per maund from Rs1,200 fixed last year.
The chief minister said the sugarcane price had been increased in view of the demand made by growers.
“The agriculture department, in consultation with the growers and owners of sugar mills, had fixed the sugarcane price at Rs182 per maund because the prices of agriculture inputs had increased considerably, but the mill owners challenged the decision in the court.
“Therefore, it was reduced to Rs155 per maund, but this was not accepted by the public. Now it has been re-fixed at Rs182 per 40kg,” he said.
Mr Shah urged the mill owners to begin buying sugarcane so that the crushing season could get under way. The crushing season was due to begin on October 1, with a grace period of 15 days.
He said the economy of Sindh depended on agriculture because four important crops — cotton, sugarcane, rice and wheat — were cultivated in the province.
Mr Shah said that wheat support price had been raised because the prices of agriculture inputs had increased.
He said his government had protested after the federal government had allowed import of wheat which was not fit for human consumption despite availability of one million tons of wheat in godowns of Sindh and over three million tons in Punjab.
“We have taken up the issue with the centre because it is a provincial subject.”
Answering a question, the chief minister said the Sindh government had been giving Rs4.5 billion subsidy on wheat.
Mr Shah said his government was in contact with the interior ministry on the issue of recovery of mutilated bodies of youngsters.
“The IG Sindh is investigating the matter.”
The inquiry would be completed within one month.
The chief minister said the Sindh government was ready to hold local government elections. “It is a provincial subject and we will hold the elections on party basis, but the Supreme Court has said the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) is authorised for the purpose. Therefore, elections could not be held.”
He said the ECP had said in a statement that it could not conduct the elections soon.
Published in Dawn December 8th , 2014