LAHORE: The Punjab government has promulgated “The Sugar Factories (Control) (Amendment) Ordinance 2020” to ensure payments to the sugarcane growers in a timely and transparent manner, and to make provisions for their ancillary matters.

The Punjab governor has promulgated the ordinance since the Punjab Assembly is not in session and he was satisfied that circumstances exist that rendered it necessary to take immediate action.

The ordinance inserts a clause “Cane Purchase Receipt (CPR) meaning receipt of cane purchased by an occupier of a factory or a purchasing agent mentioning weight and price for cane purchased from a person, who cultivates cane either by himself or by members of his family or by hired labour and who is not a member of a cane-growers’ co-operative society”.

The ordinance says the occupier of a factory shall purchase cane from a cane-grower or cane growers’ co-operative society, as the case may be against CPR at the rate notified in the Act and shall make payment to the cane-grower through a bank directly into the bank account of the cane-grower: provided that the occupier of the factory shall not purchase cane from a person, who is a member of a cane-growers’ co-operative society.

The new ordinance has given powers to the cane commissioner to determine liability of the occupier of a factory for payment of cane price to a cane-grower, where a cane-grower applies for the same.

In order to ensure rights of the cane-growers, the ordinance says any person contravening the provisions of this Act or any order or rule made there under shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term that may extend to three years or with fine that may extend to five million rupees per day but shall not be less than Rs1 million per day or both in case of contravening the provision of the Act. For a repeat offence, the ordinance imposes fine not less than Rs5 million per day.

CEMENT: In order to promote investment of billions of rupees, the Punjab government has eased issuance of NOC from different departments for setting up of cement factories.

The government has linked the issuance of NOC with a timeline. It has also decided to make necessary amendments to the rules and regulations regarding the unused mining lease.

Published in Dawn, September 26th, 2020