Our Special Correspondent
Due to wrong policies of the federal government a dispute between the growers and the sugar millers have emerged, therefore mills have refused to start crushing and the available sugarcane crop is staling. This was stated by the Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah while talking to media after inaugurating two roads, Hub River and Surjani-Madinatul Hikmat Road near Hamdard University here on Saturday. He was also accompanied by the provincial Minister of Local Government, Jam Khan Shoro and Fisheries & Livestock Minister Mohammad Ali Malkani, Works & Services Minister Imdad Pitafi, MPA Saeed Ghani and secretary Local Government Ramzan Awan and others.
Replying to a query, Murad said the matter of sugarcane crushing was taken up in the Council of Common Interest (CCI) meeting held on November 24, in Islamabad. “I told them that the problem has been created by the federal government by adopting wrong policies,” he said, adding, the federal government imposed a ban on export of sugar in December 2016 to April 2017, therefore the sugar which was lying in the warehouses could not be exported. Pakistan produces around 8 million tons of sugar every year against which the local consumption is hardly five million.
“This shows that every year we have three million tons of surplus sugar,” he said and further added, “had the federal government not imposed the ban on export of sugar we would not have any problem of surplus stock.” With the wrong policies of the federal government the mechanism of demand and supply became misbalanced and now “we are facing serious situation,” he pointed out. Murad said in the international market there is a price difference of around Rs15. Therefore the federal government has assured the provincial governments in the CCI that it would give subsidy on the export of sugar for which the provincial governments would also take some financial burden.
Replying to another query, Murad said the CCI meeting was informed that no sugar mill has started crushing in Punjab but nobody has started a protest or dare to come onto the roads there. As a matter fact, Punjab has to start crushing from November 1st. “But, in Sindh sugarcane crushing matter has been made politicized, this politicization is causing loss to the growers,” he said and added, “his government was with the growers who grow their crops after an extensive hard work and investment.” He said available sugarcane crop was staling and turning pale as its harvesting should start now. In the present situation of deadlock, the federal and the provincial governments have decided to intervene for starting crushing and disposing of the sugar stocks through export.
“The Sindh government in coordination with the federal government is working out a plan to give subsidy and announce sugarcane price,” he said. Talking about Sindh Governor Zubair Ahmed, the chief minister said he is his best friend but he doesn’t know the facts. “The Green Line project has been delayed due to a non-serious attitude of the federal government as it was a Rs16 billion project and the federal government had allocated Rs5 billion, that’s why it could not be completed in four years.
“If a project of this magnitude had been started in Punjab it would have been completed in one year,” he remarked. Replying to a query, Murad said that he directed Minister Transport Syed Nasir Shah to make necessary provision for student tickets concessional in BRT system. “It is important and we would ensure it,” he said. Murad said that he has given clear instructions to the divisional administration all over Sindh to take necessary measures to avoid reaction to an operation launched against Faizabad, Islamabad sit-in. “We would not allow anybody to take law in his hands,” he said. Murad said that he had pressed the federal government to ratify three percent census blocks to make the census credible but at that time they agreed to ratify only one percent.
“In the CCI meeting [Nov 24], the federal government agreed to ratify 5 percent census blocks so that people of the country can trust it. “This is a good move and I hope ratification would make credible,” he said. Earlier, the chief minister inaugurated two important roads, Hub River and Surjani-Madinatual Hikmat roads at their sites by unveiling their plaque in a simple ceremony.