Sugar is being sold in the retail market at Rs 52/kg and its prices are likely to further increase in Ramzan when the consumption touches its peak. Most sugar mills are owned by the politicians who are on both sides of the aisle, in government and opposition, Pakistan Sugar Mills Associationsis a powerful organization dictating terms to every government. Being a lobby of the politicians, its objective is to protect the interests of mill owners through price manipulations and cartelization. The sugar mills create shortage of sugar in the market by holding their stocks at the mills stores or with their dealers. Any attempts by government to control the rise of prices fails due to politicians prevailing over the policymakers and officials responsible for implementation of policy. It is an irony that virtually all sugar mills of this country were setup by the financial assistance provided by the banks on long terms loans at a nominal markup. The sugar mills also borrow money for purchase of the sugarcane and use public money to hoard sugar to make windfalls profit and enrich themselves at the cost of hapless consumers. What can an ordinary citizen expect from such people for their welfare? There is a dire need to have a regularity authority for food items that protects the consumer interest and saves them from exploitation by the pernicious producer. -ENGR S.T. HUSSAIN, Lahore, via e-mail, August 4.