JHANG: In compliance with the orders of the deputy commissioner, police on Wednesday arrested the senior vice president and general manager (administration) of a sugar mills on their alleged refusal to buy sugarcane.

Deputy Commissioner Shaukat Ali on Wednesday issued detention orders of five administrators of two mills, including the owner, for 90 days.

The sugar mills are owned by a high profile business group of the country. In the light of government decision [on crushing], three small mills have started crushing while the administrations of remaining two main mills situated at Jhang-Chiniot-Sargodha and Jhang-T.T.Singh roads seem reluctant to start purchasing crop from growers.

Some of the growers -- Ramzan, Khan Muhammad, Khalid Mahmood, Zawar Hussain and Gulzar Ahmed -- told reporters outside the DC Office that they came to inform the deputy commissioner about the ‘discriminatory’ attitude being adopted by the millers who prefer big and influential farmers during purchase of crop. They pointed out that supply permits were allegedly being issued to the ‘powerful’ landlords. They complained about less payment [slips] by extra deduction in weight at the time of supply to mills. They said the purchase process was very slow because two main sugar mills were yet to start procurement.

CM orders action on crushing season violations

Meanwhile, the DC in a handout said the assistant commissioners were directed to take action against the middlemen involved in purchasing crops from growers on low rates. He said officials of revenue and food departments were tasked with ensuring proper weight and government notified rate of Rs180 per 40 kilo.

“Further action will be taken against the managements of all five sugar mills of the district if they create problems for farmers as the government is fully committed to protecting the benefits of growers,” he said.

Our Staff Reporter Adds: Chief Minister Usman Buzdar has directed the food minister and the food secretary to initiate legal action against those sugar mills that have not started crushing season despite instructions by the government.

Instructions were issued to the minister and the secretary as well as the cane commissioner, the chief minister said on Wednesday.

He said there was no reason in non-functioning of sugar mills as the government had accepted their demands. He said no one would be allowed to exploit the sugarcane farmers and warned: “Those who have not run their mills will be taken to task”.

The chief minister said the sale of sugarcane on fixed rates would be ensured and sugar mills were bound to procure sugarcane from the farmers at the rates fixed by the government. He said action would also be taken against violators.

100-DAY PLAN: The chief minister continued reviewing performance of different departments with regard to his government’s first 100-day plan. The performance of social welfare, mines and minerals, population welfare, law, transport, human rights and minorities affairs, home and police departments was reviewed in detail.

Provincial ministers and administrative secretaries gave a briefing about the performance of their departments.

Published in Dawn, December 20th, 2018