MIRPURKHAS - Three of four sugar mills in the district have started crushing of sugarcane.

The district has less sugarcane crop this year due to acute water scarcity. However, sugar mills managements have not yet confirmed they will pay official rate of Rs182 per 40 kilogramme to sugarcane growers.

Three sugar mills -- Mirpurkhas, Tharparkar and Al Abbas  -- have started crushing, while Digri sugar mills has yet to start crushing.

Sources said that owing to shortage of cane in the district sugar mills have allegedly hired private persons to buy sugarcane through them and also provided a handsome amount for payments to growers immediately. Sources said that after a few weeks there would be start of a race among the sugar mills to buy more sugarcane and for this purpose mills would pay excess amount to growers.

Sources said that growers were supplying their sugarcane crop to their nearby sugar mills in the hope to get official rate of the crop. However, growers said that they were not confirmed by mills about purchase of sugarcane on official rate. An application of sugar mills challenging the official rate of sugarcane was pending hearing at the Sindh High Court.