TOBA TEK SINGH: The Sharif Group of Industries has wound up the Chaudhry Sugar Mills located on Toba Tek Singh district’s Gojra-Faisalabad Road.
The mill remained functional during the current sugarcane crushing season but as soon as the season was over its machinery is being uninstalled and transported to Rahim Yar Khan, where it will be installed at a new place.
The mill was set up in 1992 by the late Mian Sharif (father of the Sharif brothers) on 571 kanal. He also got constructed a beautiful mosque which was named “Al-Sharif Mosque” just outside the mill.
Having the crushing capacity of 8,500 ton per day, the mill was among the top 10 sugarcane crushing mills in terms of its scale of operation. During crushing seasons it used to have about 1,000 employees, while in shutdown period it had about 450 permanent employees.
Farmers seek early clearance of dues
A board mill was also set up on a 14-kanal area adjacent to the Chaudhry Sugar Mills the same year. It had been utilising 55pc of its need of bagasse from the sugar set-up, but it had to be closed down about a year ago for unknown reasons.
Muhammad Kamran, who heads the sugar mill’s Lahore head office, confirmed that the mill was being shifted from the district to Rahim Yar Khan. He said sufficient sugarcane was not available in Gojra for the consumption of the mill.
He claimed the outstanding money of the sugarcane growers would be cleared soon.
A source in Rahim Yar Khan disclosed that the mill was being installed about 20km away from Rahim Yar Khan near Kot Samaba (on Rahim Yar Khan-Khanpur Road), where machinery had started reaching. The mill, he said, would be jointly run by the Sharif group and Chaudhry Raheel Munir, an industrialist who is the son-in-law of Mariam Nawaz Sharif.
Gojra Sugarcane Growers Association President Chaudhry Zafar Iqbal Gujjar claimed that at least Rs1 billion of growers against supply of sugarcane were outstanding against the mill. He said the mill machinery was being transported to Rahim Yar Khan at a time when farmers were busy in wheat harvesting and could not raise their voice over the issue.
He said his organisation had protested outside the mill but the payments of growers had not been made so far. He announced if their payments were not cleared within a week, the farmers would take to the street.
Published in Dawn, April 23rd, 2016