The annual consumption of sugar is about 5.2 million tons. The sugar mills production this year was only about 3.5 million tons. There was a shortfall of 1.7 million tons which the Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) was supposed to import to fill the supply and demand gap. But it seems the Ministry of Industry &Production and the TCP are both members of the sugar cartel because they are providing every opportunity to the sugar barons to make a fantastic profit during Ramadan. The likely sugar prices during the month of Ramadan may shot up to Rs.100/kg. It is interesting to note that the sugar in India is available at only about Rs.48/kg because of effective control of government on food prices. Owing to lack of government control on our side, prices of almost all food items have shot up exponentially in recent months, leaving the consumers at the mercy of cartels and profiteers. The massive rise in items of daily use has put even staple items beyond the purchasing power of lower segment of the population. I suggest the FBR should also claim sales tax from sugar mills on the price at which they have sold their merchandise to the dealers and hoarders instead of the tax that has been charged at the fixed rate of Rs. 28.88/kg. The State Bank of Pakistan should also play its role by directing the banks to recover the advances made to sugar mill owners on their stockholdings so that the hoarded stock can be brought into the market. -ENGR. S.T. HUSSAIN, Lahore, June 30.