Punjab sugar mills halt crushing owing to ‘non-availability of sugarcane’



Punjab sugar mills on Tuesday stopped crushing and decided to close the mills due to non availability of sugarcane.
Around 30 sugar mills in the province have decided to halt crushing due to non-availability of sugarcane, sources said. Only eight mills were running in Punjab so far, according to sources.
The crisis that have caused shutdown of the Punjab sugar mills will result in hike in sugar price, sources added. The mill owners while inviting attention of the government have warned that the sugarcane crisis will further aggravate in days to come.
The issue of sugarcane price always remains a bone of contention between various stakeholders in sugar industry in Punjab as well as in Sindh, two major sugarcane producing provinces of the country.
The mill owners resorted to delay in beginning of the crushing season of sugar mills to get advantage of the weak bargaining position of the farmers.
The farmers complain that the Punjab sugar mills owners and other quarters having vested interest in the industry use tactics to delay crushing season and not increasing procurement rate, which results in economic problems for farmers and crisis for the workers of sugar industry.
The growers and sugar mills owners remain in a constant dispute for last several years over the issue of fixation of sugarcane price, long delays in release of payments to growers and clearance of liabilities by factory owners.—INP