CM fields ministers, secretaries against sugar mill owners

LAHORE – Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif has said sugar mills owners will be booked and put them behind bars if they continue exploitation of growers.

Presiding over a meeting from Madina through the video link to solve the problems of sugarcane farmers, he said action should be continued against the elements that have set up illegal weighbridges and such persons should also be brought to justice.

A couple of days ago, Lahore High Court directed the assistant cane commissioner to submit report on the action taken against the sugar mill owners who failed to start crushing in line with court orders.

Justice Sajid Mehmood Sethi was hearing a petition moved by Jamat-i-Islami Lahore chapter Ameer Mian Maqsood Ahmad against closure of crushing during the crushing season in Punjab.

Previously, Punjab Cane Commissioner Sanaullah appeared in the court and said that mill owners had been issued show cause notices. His reply irked the judge who asked him that why action was not taken against the violators. The judge earlier gave him time until Dec 22 and now again directed the officer concerned to come up with the report.

Mian Maqsood Ahmad had submitted that the government had stopped crushing by sugar mills during the current crushing season. He said sugar mills start crushing every year in October but unfortunately these mills had not been functioning for the last two years. The petitioner stated that closure of crushing had been causing great loss to farmers. He said the loss in southern Punjab had reached Rs40 billion, he said.

“Ministers and secretaries should remain available in the field and they should continuously conduct field visits to ensure timely solution to problems of sugarcane farmers and the results of these visits should be communicated to me as well. No leniency will be shown to the sugar mills owners going against the interests of the farming community, the CM said duirng Friday’s meeting.

Ministers Sheikh Allauddin, Dr Ayesha Ghaus Pasha, Dr Farrukh Javed, Naeem Akhtar Bhabha, chief secretary, farmers’ representatives and Sugar Mills Association President Javed Kiyani attended the meeting at Model Town. Food Minister Bilal Yasin and secretary participated from Jhang and Faisalabad respectively while Ahsan Latif of Sugar Mills Association jointed the meeting from Khushab through the video link.

The CM categorically directed that indiscriminate action should be initiated against the sugar mills involved in the practice of underweight procurement of sugarcane. Also, he presided over a meeting on welfare projects under the Annual Development Program (ADP). Speaking on the occasion, he directed the authorities concerned for constituting a special committee to monitor the progress on different development projects through field visits. The members of this committee should visit the field to personally monitor the progress on development projects and submit their reports.

The CM directed that departments should ensure accurate utilization of funds released for their development projects because timely utilization of these funds will help the people to benefit from these useful initiatives.

He said that transparency, speed and quality of work are the hallmarks of Punjab government and it has the honor to secure national resources worth billions of rupees from development projects by ensuring transparency. He said that Punjab government has presented the largest development budget in the history of the province during the current fiscal year and added that this ADP is a guarantor to durable progress of the people as well as speedy progress.

He said that timely completion of different development projects of Annual Development Program is included in our priorities and maintained that provincial ADP is a reflective of sustained development and progress of the people as schemes ensuring welfare of the common people have been given priority in this programme.

“The speed of progress has been further expedited due to the implementation on development program worth Rs635 billion.”

He pointed out that record funds have been allocated for the development of Southern Punjab as development of less- developed and far-flung areas is part of the governmental priorities.

“The pivot of development works is to bring improvement in the lives of the people and development of social sector has been given particular attention in the ongoing ADP.”

He said that network of carpeted roads has been spread in the rural areas under the ‘Pakian Sarkan Sukhay Painday’ Program. Due to this mega program of construction and repair of rural roads, the rural economy has been revitalized and the lifestyle has been transformed. He said that resources are a sacred trust of the people and every penny is being utilized honestly on public welfare projects.

The Chief Minister further directed that timely utilization of resources must be ensured under the ADP and new as well as ongoing schemes should be completed within the given timeframe.

Similarly, sustained monitoring of the projects should also be continued for their timely completion, he added.

Hamza Shehbaz Sharif MNA, Provincial Minister Ayesha Ghaus Pasha also attended the meeting



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