LAHORE: Thousands of sugar bags were recovered from various cities of Punjab on Sunday, as the administration continued its crackdown on sugar hoarders and illegitimate profiteers.

Thus far, the crackdown has resulted in 400,000 bags of sugar being seized from Khanewal, 250,000 bags from Okara, 25,000 from Lahore, 8,892 from Bahawalpur, 10,580 from Muzaffargarh and several thousand sacks from Kasur, Gujrat, Gujranwala, Mandi Bahauddin, Faisalabad and other cities of Punjab, the APP news agency cited a private TV channel as reporting.

Arrested: Lahore Commissioner Khusro Pervez told a private TV channel that 25 people had been arrested in the crackdown against hoarders. He said owners of sugar mills had started to declare their stock, adding the supply to the markets would increase. He claimed the artificial sugar shortage had been brought under control and the government would ensure the sugar hoarders were punished.

Bahawalpur District Coordination Officer (DCO) Dr Naeem Rauf said the district government had registered cases against eight people found storing sugar bags. He warned hoarders and profiteers to bring their sugar stocks to the market immediately, adding stern action would be taken to anyone found ignoring the orders. In Muzaffargarh, police registered cases against 50 hoarders, arresting six of them. Official sources said police had raided various godowns in the city and seized 10,580 illegally stored bags of sugar.

Fixed rate: Meanwhile, Federal Minister for Industries and Production Mian Manzoor Ahmed Wattoo told journalists that sugar would be available at Utility Stores, Ramzan bazaars and Sunday bazaars for Rs 38/kg. He said the commodity’s price would remain fixed at Rs 38/kg until the crushing season.

Wattoo said the Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) had overcome the sugar shortage by purchasing 50,000 tonnes of sugar from Dubai, adding the consignment had already been dispatched from Dubai to Pakistan. He said the TCP had also invited tenders for another 75,000 tonnes of sugar. He said the total production of sugar in the country was 3.2 million tones, while its consumption was 3.6 million tonnes.

Current stock: According to a statement released by the TCP, it has released 298,637 tonnes of sugar to the Utility Stores Corporation of Pakistan between January 2009 and August 2009. It said the corporation currently has a stock of 183,000 tonnes of sugar, including 106,000 tonnes of locally manufactured sugar. The federal government has appointed the TCP to maintain strategic reserves of sugar to meet any eventuality, particularly shortages, it added.

Source: Daily Times