Lahore - Despite the ban imposed by the Punjab government on the establishment of new sugar mills and their relocation in the cotton belt, the relocated three sugar mills have been provisionally allowed to continue their operations.

Secretary Industries Dr Mujtaba Paracha has suspended the tribunal order directing the Deputy Commissioners concerned to remove Ch Sugar Mills, Ittefaq Sugar Mills and Haseeb Waqas Sugar Mills from their new locations in Rahimyar Khan, Muzaffargarh and Bahawalpur to their previous locations in the central Punjab.

These sugar mills had relocated their units from central Punjab to southern Punjab (cotton belt) without seeking prior permission of the competent authority in contravention of the Punjab Industries (Control on Establishment & Enlargement), Ordinance 1963 as well as ban imposed by the Punjab Government through its notification No:AEA-III-3-5/2003(Vol-III), dated 06.12.2006.  

The complaints against these mills had been lodged by M/s RYK Mills, M/s Tandlianwala Sugar Mills and M/s Ashraf Sugar Mills alleging that M/s Haseeb Waqas Group, M/s Ittefaq Group and CSML group had established new sugar mills in the South Punjab in violation of rules. 

Under directions from the Lahore High Court, the court tribunal established under the Director General, Industries, Prices, Weights and Measures (IPWM), heard the case, and ruled in his order issued on 28.4.2017 that the managements of the three sugar mills were required to seek permission of the competent authority before shifting and setting up their mills.

The managements of these mills had contended before the tribunal that they had not established new sugar mills rather had shifted their sugar mills to new locations, but the tribunal held in its decision that they were still required to seek the mandatory permission under the rules. 

The three of the sugar mills later filed appeals against the tribunal decision in the office of the Secretary Industries, the appealing authority in such cases, who after hearing the parties suspended the tribunals’ order. They contended before the secretary that neither the ban dated 6.12.2006 imposed on the establishment and enlargement in the capacity of the existing sugar mills in the province was applicable in their case nor it was necessary to seek permission from the Government, as the mills had been established much earlier before imposition of the official ban with the prior permission of the Government. They further contended that shifting of their sugar mills could not be deemed as establishment of a new sugar mills.

The departmental representative, on the other hand, contended in his report that the accused Sugar Mills had relocated their units from other districts without seeking prior permission of the competent authority.