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Sindh High Court forms committee to clear sugarcane growers’ dues

Sindh High Court forms committee to clear sugarcane growers' duesKARACHI: Sindh High Court on Tuesday formed a seven-member committee to decide about dues of the sugarcane growers’ dues against the sugar mills in the province.

Sindh High Court heard petition of growers against sugar mills for the dues. The court constituted a committee of seven members, three each from grower bodies and sugar mills association and one cane commissioner.

The cane commissioner will be the chairman of the committee while Sindh secretary agriculture will supervise the committee. This committee would decide about pending dues of nearly 1,300 growers by December 15 or 45 days from today.

Last year, growers did not receive sugarcane price of Rs182/40-kg fixed by the Sindh government while Sindh High Court had fixed the interim price at Rs160/40-kg.

However, the growers were paid around Rs130/40 kg despite of orders of the court.

Secretary agriculture informed the court that sugarcane board would be formed within 10 days that will decide about price and crushing season. Board will include two MPAs (members of provincial assembly) whose names will be given by the speaker.

However, crushing of sugarcane in Sindh is unlikely to start from November 1, 2018, as sugarcane board has yet to be formed.

Sugarcane growers of Sindh in a meeting with Sindh Agriculture Minister earlier this month demanded fixing of sugarcane price at Rs220/40-kg this year and start of the crushing season from 1st November.

However, government has made no contact with the sugar mills so far. “We have neither been asked nor have submitted any suggestions regarding crushing season,” said one official of the Pakistan Sugar Mills Association, Sindh Zone. “Government has not notified any date.”

Sources in the Sindh government said that with amendment in sugarcane act, crushing would start after November 30th that too when sugarcane board is formed, which is not formed yet.

One grower said no date has been announced for the crushing season, however, some mills have started their boilers.

In their meeting with the agriculture minister, sugarcane growers had demanded blacklisting those sugar mills that have failed to clear the dues of growers.

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