LAHORE - White refined sugar has virtually disappeared from the open market across the provincial metropolis, as the shopkeepers have stopped selling the commodity in the retail market owing to its worst scarcity in the wholesale bazaar. Market sources said the millers had suspended sugar supply to the market on Saturday, causing worst shortage of the commodity. The consumers complained that sugar was being sold at high price of Rs 50 per-kg in some parts of the City against its officially fixed price of Rs 40 per-kg. Hundreds of local shopkeepers thronged the wholesale market, Akbari Mandi, on Saturday, where about one dozen sales points have been established to ensure sugar sale at Rs 38 per-kg for the retailers. Reportedly, scuffles and minor clashes also took place between the sellers and buyers at the Akbari Mandi, as the supply was not sufficient to meet the increasing demand. 'The wholesale market was open but there was a little sugar business today. The shopkeepers and retailers were witnessed leaving back with empty-hands due to worst shortage of the commodity, Asghar Butt, President Lahore Sugar Dealers Association said, when contacted. He said there was mismanagement in the supply and sale mechanism and most of the dealers refused to sell sugar in protest. He said the government should take solid steps to convince the millers for the start of crushing season as early as possible as any further delay will aggravate the situation. He also pointed out that sugar was being smuggled to Peshawar from Lahore due to considerable price difference. However, sugar was being sold in some parts of the City at Rs 49 to Rs 50 per-kg while most of the retailers stopped sugar selling owing to low profit margin. Interestingly, some storeowners were witnessed selling sugar only to their regular customers fearing govt crackdown. Market dealers said they could not sell the commodity at Rs 40 per kg in the wholesale market after purchasing it at Rs 39 per kg at the ex-mill price. 'If the transportation charges are included, it is no more a viable business. Therefore, most of the shopkeepers and retailers are unwilling to continue sugar business, Ahmed Khan, a local sugar dealer said. The market sources said white refined sugar disappeared from the local market after the court ordered the government to ensure its sale at Rs 40 per kg. Dealers also revealed the available stocks in the market had almost exhausted while cut in supply-line is aggravating the situation. Therefore, he said, we have stopped the sugar business though our customers are going back empty-handed. The government should take this issue seriously and improve the supply situation in order to ensure its sale at Rs 40 per-kg to implement the orders of the Supreme Courts of Pakistan, he added. I have visited five shops and stores situated in the area but could not get a single packet of one-kg sugar. There was no sugar at any shop, Munir Khan, a resident of Johar Town said. He further said the Punjab government should intervene into the situation to overcome the shortage and to provide relief to the public.