Saga of farmers

SUGARCANE farmers are once again in distress as mills are not buying their produce on rates announced by the Government and are resorting to delaying tactics for crushing of sugarcane as part of their designs to squeeze maximum benefit and profit at the cost of the poor grower. Lahore High Court had intervened in the matter and ordered sugar mills to start operations immediately but they have not paid any heed. Similar situation persists in Sindh and KP where growers are protesting in different areas and instead of listening to their demand police was used to crush their protests.
Lahore High Court has pointed out that millers were bound to start crushing in October but they have not done so even in December, which speaks volumes about their intents and designs. The court has directed the provincial government to register cases against millers who were not ready to start crushing. But it is unlikely that any action would be taken against millers as almost all of them are influential people with strong connections in corridors of power. It is because of this that they have been jacking up prices of sugar since long despite the fact that the prices of the commodity have fallen much in the international market. The Government has lavishly been allowing them to export sugar and that too with incentives. And the ECC, which met with Prime Minister Shahahid Khaqan Abbasi in the chair on Friday, again allowed further import of the commodity at the expense of the consumers in Pakistan. It is strange that the Government is granting liberal incentives to millers but is unable to force them to procure sugarcane at officially guaranteed prices and make prompt and full payments to growers. The tactics being used by millers to mint money are not only discouraging farmers from sowing sugarcane but the delay in lifting of the crop is also delaying sowing of wheat crop by them. We hope Lahore High Court would take the case to its logical conclusion.

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