BAHAWALPUR: Farmers have expressed concern over the announced decision of the sugar mills to wind up crushing a month ahead the deadline in south Punjab.

They have urged the Punjab government to ask the mills to extend their crushing season period by the end of March, which had been always the deadline for the closure of crushing season in the previous years in the whole country.

According to Pakistan Kissan Board Central Vice President Jam Hazoor Bakhsh, Kissan Ithehad district chief Malik Abbas Kuliar (Anwar Group) and others the early closure of crushing season in the sugar mills this year could be attributed to the Punjab government’s flawed policy towards sugarcane farmers. They said as the government had forced the sugar mills to start the crushing season at the earliest in 2020, now sugar mills owners were going to stop crushing season within days .

“This is due to the claims of the mills that the sugarcane was presently not easily available for their crushing process and they (mills) could not bear more losses by purchasing the sugarcane at the higher prices in the month of March.

They added that the agriculture community waited for an increase in the prices to reach in the range of Rs350 to Rs400 per maund during the month of March but after the announcement of the mills for their winding up of the crushing season, they might face financial losses.

It may be mentioned that 14 sugar mills in south Punjab, including Bahawalpur’s Ashraf Sugar Mills, have already notified information to shut the mills thrice.

Besides, these mills have also wound up their field offices to procure sugarcane from the growers.

Ashraf Sugar Mills PRO Rizwan Ahmed confirmed to Dawn that the mill had frequently warned the growers to gear up their supply of produce to the mills but to no avail. He claimed that his mills management wanted to neither let the farmers’ sugarcane rot in the fields nor hold up their payments. Instead, Rizwan said, the mills had warned the famers to sell their produce to the mill on time and collect their payments in full before the closure. He claimed that a sugar mills in Rahim Yar Khan district had already been shut down, creating problems for the sugarcane farmers there.

HIGH COURT: Malik Amir Ajam and Imran Ashraf were declared elected as president and secretary, respectively of Bahawalpur High Court Bar Association.

According to the announcement of high court bar association, Amir Ajam obtained total 1,303 votes against Mumtaz Mustafa’s 1220.

Muhammad Rafique Malik was declared elected as senior vice president by securing1,352 votes, beating Raeas Abdul Qayyum who got 1,131 votes. Ahmed Jahanzeb got vice president slot on seat reserved for Lodhran district by obtaining 1,425 votes against his rival Muhammad Takhar’s 1,049 votes.

Imran Ashraf won the secretary’s seat by obtaining 1,459 votes against Jam Muhammad Afzal’s 806 votes.

Published in Dawn, March 2nd, 2021

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