ISLAMABAD - Federal Minister for Commerce Makhdoom Amin Fahim here Tuesday said that his ministry was not responsible for the ongoing sugar crisis in the country. He stated this while briefing National Assembly Standing Committee on Commerce, which met here under the chair of Engineer Khurram Dastgir Khan at Parliament House. Fahim said the people should use less sugar, as it was injurious to health. Chairman Trade Corporation of Pakistan, Saeed Ahmad Khan, briefed the committee about sugar situation. He told that 83,283 metric tonnes of sugar had been received out of the 200,000 metric tonnes that the ECC had ordered in February 2009. Saeed told the committee that government had not imported sugar from 2005 to 2009. He said TCP had purchased sugar at different rates i.e. Rs 21 to Rs 32 per kilogram from November 2007 to October 2008 while it sold the commodity up to Rs 37 in August this year. Average price of imported sugar from February to August this year remained at Rs 56 per kilogram whereas in August we imported the commodity at Rs 74 per kilogram, he said, adding the TCP could purchase and buy sugar after the approval of government. He said the TCP imported sugar timely under ECC directives but the stock remained lying in the mills due to administrative action by the government of Punjab against sugar mills. Police did not allow the Utility Stores Corporation to lift sugar, he added. Peshawar High Court also gave a verdict that TCP sugar stock could not be taken out of the district where it was lying, he added. Commerce Secretary Suleman Ghani told the committee that due to fixation of Rs 100 per maund as supporting price of sugarcane and grant of permission to the sugar mills to import 300,000 tonnes raw sugar, the sugar price would not be less than Rs 50 per kilogram in the market in the next season. He said it was not the responsibility of TCP to import the commodity, however, advisory council of ministry of industries and production had to take this decision. He further said there was more than 53,000 metric tonnes sugar in the sugar mills while 75,000 metric tonnes would be imported before September 30. The members pointed out that all efforts of the government to provide sugar at low cost had failed dismally and millions of people were queuing up all day for sugar, which was not available at most of the utility stores. The committee would continue discussion on the sugar crisis in the next meeting. MNAs Yasmeen Rehman, Nawab Abdul Ghani Talpur, Tahira Aurangzeb, Shireen Arshad Khan, Kashmala Tariq, Jamila Gilani, Chaudhry Iftikhar Nazir, Nauman Islam Sheikh, Haji M Akram Ansari, Hamid Yar Hiraj and Iqbal M Ali Khan attended the meeting.