LAHORE - The Punjab government has allowed the wholesale dealers to sell sugar at Rs 46 per kg in the open market to avoid shortage of the commodity and to stop disturbance in the supply-line. Market sources say the government has allowed the dealers to continue the sale of the sweetener at the old rates till the final decision by the Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, who will chair a high-level meeting to discuss the sugar crisis and to review its prices tomorrow (Wednesday) in Islamabad. We are selling sugar at Rs 46 per kg here at Akbari Mandi, Citys leading wholesale market, and there is no shortage. The government after some understanding has allowed the dealers to continue sale of sugar at the old rate, Asghar Butt President Lahore Sugar Dealers Association said, when contacted. He further said the situation regarding the price dispute would be resolved within two days, as the millers would file petition before the Supreme Court against the Lahore High Courts verdict. The Prime Minister is also holding an emergency meeting on this issue, which will be resolved very soon, another high-ranking official in the Punjab government said. The prime minister has convened a meeting to fix equal price of sugar in all the four provinces after Chief Minister Punjab Mian Shahbaz Sharif sought his prompt intervention to resolve confrontation between the millers and his government over the price dispute. On Sunday, the millers had demanded the Punjab government to take the prime minister on board to resolve the issue. Sources believe that the Punjab government has decided to review its strict policy against the sugar millers, as the consequences of mills closure during the upcoming sugarcane-crushing season would be dangerous and even beyond expectations. The millers demanded the provincial cabinet committee to take the PM on board, as it is a federal subject; otherwise they would not initiate any dialogue with the Punjab government. However, the millers on the demand of the committee also assured that they would restore the sugar supply to the market at Rs 45 per kg ex-mill price. On Saturday, the Pakistan Sugar Mills Association (PSMA) straightforwardly refused to sell the commodity at Rs 36 per kg and threatened that if the government attempted to use coercive measures and arrest the mill owners, they would close down the mills for the next crushing season. Meanwhile, market sources say that white refined sugar was being sold at Rs 47 to Rs 49 per kg in the open market in different parts of the City. On the other hand, heavy police contingents and revenue department officials are still on guard at the sugar mills across the province to keep a check on the sugar movement and stocks stashed at the godowns within the mills premises. Market dealers said they could not sell the commodity at Rs 40 per kg in the wholesale market after purchasing it at Rs 45 per kg at the ex-mill price. We can leave the sugar business but cannot bear the loss of Rs 5 to Rs 6 for every kg, Ahmed Khan, a local sugar dealer told this reporter, when contacted. Meanwhile, sugar has virtually disappeared from the market after retailers stopped selling the commodity fearing punitive action for not selling it at the price fixed by the court. Some dealers were of the view that the sugar mills had suspended supply to Akbari Mandi, owing to the price dispute and the adequate supply was not restored yet. They further claim that the available stocks in the market have almost exhausted while breaking the supply-line would aggravate the situation. According to sources, the shopkeepers stopped sugar sale and the customers were witnessed returning back without getting commodity from the shops in several parts of the City. However, some shopkeepers were selling the commodity at Rs 47 to Rs 49 per kg. APP adds: Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah Khan Monday urged the Lahore High Court (LHC) to provide the services of bailiff so that the stocks of sugar mills could be bought forcefully at Rs 36 per kg. Talking to PTV news, he regretted that the sugar millers are not cooperating with the government and refused to sell sugar at Rs 36 per kg to government. Now the option left is to forcefully take over about 500,000 ton stocks of sugar laying in various godowns. The government is hesitant to occupying sugar stocks on its own as the owners can dispute the recovered figures. To avoid any controversy bailiff should be provided to Punjab to forcefully occupy the stocks and make available in the market at Rs 40 per kg, he said. Punjab is serious in implementing the orders of Lahore High Court. LHC should serve contempt of court notices to sugar barons and force them to cooperate in selling sugar at Rs 40 per kg.