Saturday, December 3
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SHC asks govt if it was ready to give subsidy to sugarcane growers

KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Monday expressed displeasure over the provincial government for not resolving the dispute between sugarcane growers and mill owners on price regulation.

A division bench, headed by Justice Aqeel Ahmed Abbasi, was hearing a petition regarding sugarcane price regulation as the growers had submitted that the sugar mills’ owners do not pay the rates fixed by the government as the minimum set rate was Rs 182 per 40 Kilogram. Besides, the growers said that the mill owners also did not follow the due procedure in the last crushing season as well and price regulation case was pending with the apex court. The sugar mill owners had assailed the rates fixed by the government, maintaining that they would face severe loss, if buy the sugarcane on government-fixed rates (Rs 182 per 40 Kg). The sugarcane growers and the mill owners had sought the interim relief from the court accordingly.

In Monday’s hearing, the court expressed displeasure when it learnt that the issue was not resolved as yet. “ The Sindh government deliberately made this issue and it does not want to resolve the same,” the court observed.

The judges remarked that the provincial government always favoured the mill owners and left the growers alone.

During the hearing Barrister Farogh Nasim, representing the mill owners, said that they would face Rs8million loss on daily basis if purchase sugarcane at Rs 182 per 40 Kg.

Adjourning the case, the court directed the provincial law officer to ask the government if it was ready to give Rs12 per 40 Kg subsidy to growers as it had given in 2014-15 season.

In the earlier hearing, the SHC had directed the sugar mill owners to pay Rs.172 per 40 Kg to the growers until the disposal of the case or a next order regarding the price. “The contempt of court’s proceedings would be initiated against the delinquent sugar mills, if they pay less than the interim rate fixed by it,” the court ruled.