LAHORE: Pakistan Sugar Mills Association, Punjab Zone, has expressed concern over crackdown on sugar dealers in the province, and warned if the operation is not stopped, the mills will not to go in to crushing during the next season. “If the operation is not stopped, we will not supply the commodity on lower rates to the provincial government for Ramazan Bazars,” Punjab PSMA Chairman Javed Kayani said.
He was talking to media men after a meeting of the PSMA, held here on Monday, to discuss the situation arising out of current operation against sugar hoarders. He held the Federal government responsible for current sugar crisis, and said the association had many a time requested the government to keep a buffer stock of 700,000 tons of sugar to meet the requirement.
But no attention was paid to this proposal of the association, he said, and added this buffer stock could be utilised to maintain the prices or meet any shortage in case of low production. Last year, two months before the start of crushing season, the association appealed to the government to let the mills import raw sugar, as there was low sugarcane production, he added.
Kayani claimed that sugar prices in the international market would be touching 40 cents per kilogram, and if raw sugar were imported at this price, it would cost Rs 100 per kilogram in Pakistan after processing. He also claimed that despite the assurance of Punjab Chief Secretary on August 14 that crackdown would be launched, the government started operation, disrupting the whole supply chain.
He claimed that the dealers and wholesalers were scared due to crackdown. He alleged that arrangements through Utility Stores had also flopped and it had given no relief to the masses. He said that millers reserved the right to go to court against this operation of the provincial government.
Meanwhile, some sugar dealers in the Akbari Mandi also stressed the need for differentiating between the hoarders and dealers. They said that raids should not be conducted at shops, as they had to keep their bought commodity on shops and godowns. They feared that shortage of sugar might start within next two to three days if the crackdown continued.
On the other hand, the Punjab Sugar Dealers Association has cautioned if the crackdown on sugar dealers were not stopped immediately, the sugar supply to the market would be clogged after two days. Associations’ President Muhammad Ayub Rana told newsmen that the bureaucracy misguided the Punjab government and crackdown on sugar hoarding was in fact conducted only against small sugar dealers.
“If the crackdown is continued, they would close down their business,” he said, and added that because of the unjustified action against sugar sellers, many dealers wanted to quit the sugar supply business. Rana Ayub said that 95 per cent sugar dealers, who were arrested during the crackdown, were not hoarders and none of them were involved in black-marketing of sugar.
He said there was no sugar shortage and held Federal government and Trading Corporation of Pakistan responsible for the present crisis. He said the TCP had not released sugar from its stock as per demand due to which the crisis arose. He said that sugar dealers were not willing to continue their business as dozens of points that were only retail outlets sealed and captured by the police and district administration to show their performance to the Chief Minister.
He said even the transporters were not ready to provide their vehicles for transportation in the present situation as they were being treated like drug barons or arms smugglers. He said that almost one million people were attached with sugar business in Punjab only, but everyone was depressed and under constant state of panic.
Source: Business Reorder