ISLAMABAD The powerful sugar mafia is again in action to fleece consumers by selling sugar at skyrocketing prices after the expiry of legal agreement between Pakistan Sugar Mills Association (PSMA) and the Federal Government regarding the sale of the commodity at Rs. 40/kg. The agreement that was signed between the aforementioned parties on October 29 this year, bound PSMA to sell 30 percent of the sugar stock at Rs 40/kg for domestic consumers while the remaining 70 percent was to be sold in industrial circuit at Rs 55/kg. The agreement expired on November 30, soon after which the rates of the commodity surged from Rs. 40/kg to Rs. 60/kg and Rs. 80/kg. Reports gathered from different cities indicate that masses are facing extreme difficulties in purchasing sugar from Utility Stores outlets where it was being sold at Rs 40/kg. The limited number of Utility Stores outlets does not meet the purchasing demand of the commodity, as long queues can be seen there. Even though the crushing season started some two weeks back and sugar mills have started producing fresh sugar stocks, the sugar mafia has deliberately halted the supply of new stock to the consumer markets in order to accumulate maximum profits by selling the previously dumped stocks at inflated rates. Information available with TheNation shows that currently only one sugar mill, Ramzan Sugar Mill in Chiniot, is supplying new sugar stocks to the consumer markets, while all the other sugar mills in Sargodha, Faisalabad, Lahore, Bhalwal, Silanwali, Shahpur, Chishtian, Parianwali, Lallian, Rahimyar Khan, and Gojra have stopped the supply of fresh sugar to the market due to which the already existing stocks are being circulated in the markets at unaffordable rates. It was learnt that sugar mill owners intend to circulate new sugar stocks to the consumer markets by the end of coming February and start of March, which implies that peoples plight would continue for the next couple of months. It merits recalling here that Supreme Court of Pakistan had taken strong exception to the sale of sugar at inflated rates and had taken a suo moto action in this regard. The proceedings of the case were adjourned after PSMA and the Government reached an agreement regarding provision of sugar to the domestic consumers at Rs. 40/kg till November 30 but after the passage of said date, poor consumers are left at the mercy of mighty millers who set the sugar rate at their sweet will. Masses are now pinning all their hopes on the Supreme Court, Federal and Provincial Governments to intervene to address their plight. TheNation made numerous attempts to contact Chairman PSMA Iskander Khan but he did not answer his cell phone.