ISLAMABAD - The government has left the masses on the mercy of powerful sugar mafia as despite surplus commodity stock in the country, the sugar prices are on its increasing trend that might further surge in the coming days, market sources told The Nation on Wednesday. According to the market sources, the commodity price is around Rs 75 per kg in the open market, which could go to Rs 80 per kg if the government remains silent spectator in this episode. On the other hand the officials of the concerned Ministry (Industries) itself admit that country has surplus commodity stock, as reserves stands at 4.7 million tons against the demand of 4.3 million tons. Similarly the Ministry claimed that there is no smuggling of the commodity to any country. According to the market sources and officials of the Industries Ministry only reason behind price hike is its hoarding, wherein provincial governments failed to take action against the hoarders and speculators. According to the official statement issued by the Ministry other day, Sugar price in India, stands at PKR 61 per kg. Sugar smuggling to India is not a viable option with their sugar priced at Rs 10 per kg below our domestic price. There is in fact an incentive to smuggle sugar to Pakistan from India. Sugar price in Afghanistan is PKR 104 per kg, but its annual demand according to International Sugar Organization (ISO) is only 235,000 tons, which is imported from India, China and Brazil. Their demand is 5.6 per cent of Pakistans current years sugar production. Smuggling of sugar to the neighboring countries is not a viable option with high fuel costs by road. However, as a matter of abundant precaution, Interior Ministry is taking preventive measures to check sugar smuggling. Similarly, according to the statement, sugar has been exempted from sales tax through Finance Act 2011 while 8 per cent Federal Excise duty (FED) has been imposed. Moreover 2.5 per cent Special Excise Duty (SED) has also been abolished. As such with ex-mill price of Rs 60/kg, 8 percent FED is Rs 4.80/kg. Ex-mill price is Rs 64.80/kg; wholesale Rs 65.80/kg, retail Rs.66.80/kg. Therefore any increase in price above this is unwarranted.