Punjab govt blames Lahore High Court stay orders for sugar crisis

Two stay orders passed in favour of sugar millers gave freehand to hoarders, CM Naqvi told n Food Secretary says nexus among mills owners, hoarders, speculators manipulating prices in market n Report presented to CM claims all cases of Sugar Mills Association being heard by a particular judge.

LAHORE  -  Several days after the sugar ma­fia’s loot and plunder, the Punjab government sprang into action on Tuesday and decided to file an ap­peal in the Lahore High Court for vacation of two stay orders passed in favour of the Pakistan Sugar Mills Association last month. 

In its judgement passed on Au­gust 7, the Lahore High Court had stopped Cane Commission­er Punjab from fixing the sug­ar price till September 5. Justice Anwaar Hussain passed the in­terim order on petitions filed by the sugar mills owners. 

It may be recalled here that the Caretaker Punjab govern­ment had on July 28, 2023 au­thorised the Cane Commissioner to fix the price of sugar and reg­ulate storage of the commodity by checking its stock on regular basis. But the the Cane Commis­sioner had also been directed by the government to exercise this power after giving the represen­tative body of sugar factories an opportunity of being heard.

The decision to file an ap­peal against the LHC orders was taken in a meeting chaired by Caretaker Punjab Chief Minis­ter Mohsin Naqvi who was told that LHC had issued two stay or­ders preventing the Punjab gov­ernment from the acquisition of sugar mills’ records and fixation of sugar price. 

Food Secretary further told the meeting that owing to these stay orders, sugar hoarders were en­joying a free hand leading to sub­stantial increase in sugar prices. He explained that Punjab gov­ernment could not fix the price of sugar after being denied access to the mill’s record and available stocks of the commodity. 

The meeting decided to promptly file an appeal to have the stay orders vacated. The chief minister directed the Advo­cate General of Punjab to initiate this appeal urgently. He stressed the need for filing of an imme­diate appeal to stabilise the sug­ar price, according to an official handout. Sources privy to the meeting said that the briefing given by the Food Secretary also highlighted a nexus among the sugar mill owners, hoarders and speculators who were manipulat­ing the sugar price in their favor. A report presented to the chief min­ister also alleged that all such cas­es of Sugar Mills Association were being heard by a particular judge who would give relief to the mill­ers every time the issue of sugar price came up for adjudication.

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