LAHORE - Members of Punjab Assembly on Monday came down hard on the government for not doing enough to ensure payment of billions of rupees to the sugarcane growers.

The sugar mills have not paid the farmers despite the fact they have been running from pillar to post for last one year.

In a rare gesture of unity, treasury and the Opposition members spoke in unison for pressing the government to play due role to force the sugar mills for paying the remaining about four billion rupees to sugarcane growers.

Of 45 sugar mills in the province, only 19 paid dues to the framers timely while 24 are still to pay the growers.

According to official figures, the Brother Sugar Mills of Kasur owes more than 50 per cent dues to the farmers. The Brother Sugar Mills has so far paid Rs850 million to the sugarcane growers and still owe them over Rs878m.

On a call attention notice of Sheikh Allauddin, the members on both divide confronted the claim of Parliamentary Secretary Asaddullah Ch that the said mill has been sealed and attached for the purpose of auction in order to pay back the growers.

The members including Rana Munawar Mahmood and Ahmad Yar of the Treasury and Mian Aslam Iqbal and Waqas Hassan Moakkal from the Opposition carried the point that the mill was being relocated to any other place after it become bank defaulter and its machinery and other things have been taken away from the present location. They said the banks also have receivables from the sugar mill and it would recover its dues in the first hand leaving nothing for the growers.

The parliamentary secretary told the House that five of the mills in Kasur have been sealed and the DCOs have been directed to recover the money from these mills under the revenue act even by auctioning the concerns.

As to Brother Sugar Mills, he ensured the House the growers would be paid first before the banks. But the members questioned how it could be possible when everything was going on in collusion with bureaucrats and the mill owners.

They wanted the government to restrain relation of the said mill and send case of its owners NAB for action. The value of the land, which has been left after everything has been taken out, was not sufficient to satisfy liability of the growers, they maintained.

Waqas Moakkal said the cheques given to the farmers were post dated but the government is counting them as paid amount which was unfair.

Deputy Speaker Sher Ali Khan Gorchani, however, disposed of the motion in terms of the statement of the Parliamentary Secretary while the members remained unsatisfied.

During the question session, Auqaf Minister Ata Maneka replying to a question on the conditions of security, construction and other facilities in Punjab Shrine and mosques told the House that his ministry has not been provided any funds by the government.

He said 87 per cent of the amount received as charity and nazrana goes back to the shrines while his ministry has to take care of all other matters with the rest of the amount.

Mankea said the Civil Judges under the law are not competent to take up the matter related to the Auqaf property but they do and pass interim stay which is causing huge problem for the ministry. “I have taken up the matter before the judiciary,” he told the House.

The Chair wanted the minister to seek legislation if the civil judges were overstepping their powers.

Dr Farzana to a point of order spoke against the Indian aggression on the LoC and the working boundary and also violence on the innocent people in held Kashmir. She said India is involved in elimination of the Kashamiri people and its designs towards Pakistan were horrible. She sought indulgence of the government in the issue to raise voice against the Indian aggression and intentions at the international level.

On the development in Col (retd) Shuja Khanzada attack case, Law Minister Rana Sanaullah Khan told the house that the accused have been identified and their arrests are expected soon. He said both military and civil investigation agencies are working on the case and they have achieved major breakthrough.

The chair adjourned further proceedings of the case till 10am today.