ISLAMABAD - Punjab government has finally decided to remove restrictions on sugar trade between Punjab and NWFP, sources revealed on Tuesday. The government of Punjab has taken this decision due to much hue and cry of masses and traders of both provinces against the controversial ban. The sources in Punjab Food Department have informed this correspondent that a notification in this regard from Punjab Chief Minister Secretariat is likely to be issued on October 22 (Thursday). This lifting of ban on inter-provincial trade would provide substantial relief to common man as well as sugar traders. It was also disclosed that provincial government was reviewing the ban on the grounds that the commission regarding fixing of sugar prices led by Khalid Mirza in its report on October 16 last had held federal and provincial governments responsible for sugar crisis due to their mismanagement. We dont know much about the lifting of ban as the Chief Minister is handling these issues, however the ban would be removed most probably on Thursday. After the commissions report about existing sugar situation, our government is seriously thinking to review its policy, an official of Punjab Food Department told requesting anonymity, adding that Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif was directly monitoring the sugar scenario and any decision regarding the imposition or lifting of ban was at his sole discretion. The official admitted the fact that the ban on inter-provincial sugar trade had proved counterproductive, promoting sugar sale in black market, besides creating artificial shortage of the commodity. Also, the ban is likely to be reversed, perhaps, because of strong criticism of media, masses and the traders community against Punjab government, he added. The ban was imposed on September 23, soon after Eid-ul-Fitr, by the Punjab government to curtail sugar smuggling across the provinces. Currently, acute sugar shortage has hit the cities of interior Punjab, NWFP and several parts of the federal capital. The sources informed that sugar mill owners sold 250 kilograms of sugar to the wholesalers in Rawalpindi and in the suburbs of Hazara division, but later on the same day, the millers cancelled those deals forcing the wholesalers to return the aforementioned stock only because the mill owners had realised that they could sell the sugar stock on much inflated rates. Although sugar in major cities is being sold at Rs 40 per kg, yet reports from small cities indicate that the edible item is still being sold there at Rs 41 to Rs 45 per kg. It has also been observed that sugar traders are not selling more than 5 kg sugar, as the millers provide them very limited stock of the commodity. In addition, sugar trade in black in certain parts of Peshawar, Charsadda, Mardan, Abbottabad, Mansehra and Haripur still goes on unabated, though situation in the region has been improved. Sugars pervasive black market is likely to exist till the ban on inter-provincial sugar trade is lifted.