Saturday, 6 December 2014

Punjab millers accused of gloating over sugarcane growers' 'woes'

Kisan Board Pakistan (KBP) has alleged that sugar millers in Punjab are trying to fleece the sugarcane growers by threatening of closing down the mills, delaying the crushing and other such tactics. The Board said sugar millers had joined hands to buy sugarcane from the growers on throwaway prices despite the fact that farmers were not satisfied with the minimum purchase price of Rs 180 per maund announced by the provincial government.

The Board has launched a move to contact different farmers' organisations, political parties and its district wings for observing a countrywide strike against the attitude of sugar mills. It has warned the government to intervene and get loot of sugar millers stopped; otherwise farmers would bring the whole country at standstill. These views were expressed by KBP Central President Sadiq Khan Khakwani and Secretary General Malik Muhammad Ramzan Rohari during their address to growers of Kasur, Okara, Sahiwal, Khanewal and Multan in first phase of this movement, said KBP Central Secretary Information Haji Muhammad Ramzan.

Sadiq Khan Khakwani alleged that injustices of sugar millers were on peak against the growers. He said growers were not satisfied with the already announced support price of Rs 180 per maund but sugar millers were even not ready to buy their produce at that rate. They were threatening to close down mills, further delay crushing season and other such immoral tactics to buy produce on throwaway prices.

He said industrial mafia first deprived growers of paddy and cotton from their due right and now they were bent upon looting the sugarcane growers. He alleged that majority of mills belong to members of the parliament so nobody was taking notice of it. However, he warned that if notice of that exploitation was not taken then farmers would bring the whole country to standstill and responsibility of the situation would rest on the rulers.

Meanwhile, KBP Vice President Sarfraz Ahmad Khan and Deputy Secretary General Chaudhry Akhtar Farooq Mayo addressing a press conference here on Friday alleged that sugar mills from Punjab had stopped purchasing of sugarcane from December 3, following the fixing of minimum support price of sugarcane at Rs 155 per maund by Sindh government while the price in Punjab had been fixed at Rs 180 per maund.

They said millers were saying that recovery rate in Punjab was low as compared to Sindh and mills had to face a loss of Rs 8 per kilogram. They claimed that hundreds of tractor trolleys and bull-carts were standing outside the sugar mills but no purchase was going on. They said as growers had to sow wheat after the harvesting of sugarcane so Punjab might miss the sowing and production targets. They said wheat had only been sown on 75 percent of the target area in Punjab till date.

They said that Rs 155 per maund price even not meet the input cost of the growers so the Punjab government should take solid steps for ensuring implementation on its announced minimum purchase price of Rs 180 per maund for sugarcane. They said if their demands were not met then farmers would be forced to come on roads which might inflict an irreparable loss on national economy.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2014

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