LAHORE - Law Minister Rana Sanaullah has said that sugar mills were bound to pay price of sugarcane to growers within 15 days after the issuance of CPR.

Responding to a question raised by Jamat-e-Islami legislator Dr Waseem Akhtar on a point of order at Punjab Assembly on Thursday, he said that giving price of less than Rs180 per maund on CPR was a crime.

The PA session started one hour and 40 minutes behind schedule with Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal in the chair.

On a point of order, Dr Waseem Akhtar drew the attention of the chair towards the issue of growers not getting price of sugarcane fixed by the government. He said that the powerful sugar mills were looting the hapless growers of sugarcane. He accused the sugar mill owners of giving Rs160 per maund instead of the government fixed price of Rs180 per maund. He also staged a token walkout from the House.

Rana Sanaullah, who is also convener of Sugarcane Committee constituted by the Punjab CM, said that the legislator has been misled on the issue. He said that leaders of every Farmers Association, including that of JI were part of a committee constituted to ensure provision of full price to the growers. If this issue was genuine, why did the JI representative not raise it in the committee meeting, he questioned. He invited Dr Waseem Akhter and PPP’s Sardar Shahabuddin to attend the meeting due to be held in the evening (Thursday) and see that mill owners and farmers associations would be there. Both the Opposition legislators accepted the invitation.

Treasury legislator Mian Muhammad Islam claimed that Hamza Sugar Mill Khanpur has issued CPR mentioning rate of sugarcane at Rs150 per maund.

On the assertion of Law Minister that FIR could be registered if claim was correct, the legislator presented photocopy of the CPR.

During Question Hour on Schools Education, legislators from both sides of the political divide expressed displeasure over the absence of Minister from the House and that of Secretary from the officials’ gallery.

Dr Waseem Akhtar pointed out procedural and policy discrepancies in appointment of female teachers in boys schools. He questioned the affects of female teachers on the overall environment of the school.

Parliamentary Secretary Joyce Rofin Julius said that all procedures and policies were followed in hiring and the atmosphere was pleasant because children learn better from female teachers owing to motherly instincts.

The issues of space and dearth of teachers, especially in rural and semi urban areas was the major concern of most of the legislators.

At the start of proceedings during Government Business, Opposition legislator Nabila Hakim Ali pointed quorum. As the quorum remained incomplete even after ringing bells for five minutes, the chair adjourned the session till Friday (today) at 9am.

Due to lack of quorum, the treasury could not introduce The University of Sialkot Bill 2018 and The University of Narowal Bill 2018. Annual reports of the Parks and Horticulture Authority Faisalabad, Multan, Gujranwala, Lahore, Bahawalpur and Rawalpindi for the year 2015-16 were also not laid.