LAHORE - The Punjab government, in the absence of minister and secretary Food, is unable to devise the mechanism to ensure sugar sale at Rs 40 per kg while as a result of supply-line breakdown, the sugar stocks in the market have almost exhausted. "Sugar sale has come to a halt in the wholesale market owing to uncertainty over price dispute while 95 per cent sugar stocks have exhausted. We have no sugar to sell," President Lahore Sugar Dealers Association Asghar Butt said, when contacted. He further said the supply situation would aggravate further in the days to come if the government failed in restoring supply at the price fixed by the court immediately. Interestingly, Punjab Food Minister Malik Nadeem Kamran is in the United States on a personal visit while Secretary Food Irfan Elahi is on a six-week leave for his private reasons at a time when the province is facing worst sugar crisis, thanks to the good governance in the province. Punjab Law Minister Rana Sana Ullah is holding the additional charge of Food Ministry while Secretary Population Welfare Tahir Raza Naqvi is assigned the extra duty to look after the daily affairs of the department. Sources revealed that the Acting Secretary Food Tahir Raza Naqvi tried to hold negotiations with the millers on Saturday but they (millers) straightforwardly refused to entertain the government, as most of the millers were reluctant to attend the meeting to discuss the supply situation and the price dispute. The commissioner Lahore is preparing a list of the dealers to bring back sugar in the market, sources said, adding, the government would sell sugar at the ex-mill rate of Rs 36 directly to the dealers in case the mill owners refused to sell the commodity at the price suggested by the Supreme Court of Pakistan. On the other hand, white sweetener vanished from the open market across the Punjab on Saturday, as the shopkeepers have stopped selling the commodity in the retail market. And the very few stores providing the item were charging Rs 49 to Rs 50 per kg. Some shopkeepers were also witnessed selling sugar to their regular customers only, fearing the government crackdown. Market sources say the millers have stopped sugar supply to the wholesale dealers while the retailers are unwilling to buy the available stock at Rs 46 per kg. The traders in the open market say they cannot sell the commodity at Rs 40 per kg in the open market after purchasing it at Rs 46 per kg at wholesale rate. "The government should ensure sugar supply at Rs 36 ex-mill rate so that it can be sold at Rs 40 in the open market," Ahmed Khan, a local sugar dealer said. The market sources are of the opinion that the non-availability is an aftermath of the court order to the govt for ensuring the per kg price at Rs 40, while the retailers said they had stopped selling sugar owing to uncertainty and zero profit margin. "After purchasing the commodity at Rs 46 per kg from the wholesale market, how can we sell it at Rs 40 per kg in the retail," Rizwan Shah a storeowner in Johar Town said. Meanwhile, all the 42 operational sugar mills in the province are still under government control as it has also sealed all the godowns to ensure the sugar price of Rs 40. The government has also activated 1,100 price control magistrates to monitor the prices. Heavy police contingents and the officials of Revenue Department have been deployed at all the sugar mills to keep a check on the movement of the commodity and sugar stocks. According to the Food Department sources, all the sugar mills have been barred from selling sugar to the dealers as under the new arrangement the mills are bound to sell their commodity to the government. The government has also asked the millers that if they wanted to sell their stocks stashed at the godowns directly to the dealers at the price fixed by the court, no hurdles will be erected in their way.