LAHORE - After taking over control of all 42 operational sugar mills in the province, the Punjab government has now taken the purchase and sale mechanism into its own hands, fixing the retail price of the commodity at Rs 47 per-kg in the open market. According to a notification issued by the Punjab Food Department on Friday, all the sugar mills have been barred from selling sugar to the dealers as under the new arrangement the mills are bound to sell their commodity to the govt at Rs 45 per-kg and the govt machinery would sell it in the market. Pakistan Sugar Mills Association (PSMA) Punjab has strongly condemned the action of the Punjab govt, terming it as 'parallel to the nationalisation of 1972 'This is the worst ever action a civilised and democratically elected govt could take. The godowns of all the sugar mills have been sealed and the possession has been taken over by the district administration and police, Javed Kayani, Chairman PSMA Punjab said in a Press statement on Friday. However, he said that the PSMA is ready to resolve the issue amicably but anything imposed or forced would not be accepted at all. Contradicting the Federal govts decision of fixing ex-mill price of sugar at Rs 49.75 per-kg, the Punjab govt has set the ex-mill sugar rate at Rs 45 per-kg. 'We have issued a notification in the official gazette today, barring the millers from sugar selling. The millers are bound to sell sugar at Rs 45 per-kg only to the govt as the govt has taken the sugar trade into its own hands, Secretary Food Punjab Irfan Elahi, confirmed when contacted. The Secretary Food Punjab also ruled out the possibility of sugar shortage saying, 'I think the available sugar stocks of around 800,000 tonnes are enough for this season and there is no need to import sugar during this season. The notification to this effect has been issued a day after the PML-N Quaid Mian Nawaz Sharif, during a high-level party meeting held in Murree on Thursday reviewed the sugar crisis and asked the Punjab government to ensure the ex-mill price of the commodity at Rs 45 per-kg. The govt has disrupted the entire supply chain and eliminated the role of dealers from the sugar trade to ensure availability of the commodity at Rs 47 per-kg in the open market. Around 800,000 metric tonnes of sugar stocks are lying in the godowns of sugar mills across Punjab, a high-ranking official disclosed to this reporter, adding, the Punjab Food Department has completed the checking of sugar stocks. The sources revealed that out of total 46 sugar mills in the Punjab, three sugar mills have sold out all their stocks including Baba Farid Sugar Mills, Fecto Sugar Mills and Shakar Gunj Sugar Mills (Dargash) while one sugar mills is not functional. The government has taken over control of all 42 mills situated in different parts of the province and the concerned district govt officials and the police have been deployed at these mills to keep a check on the sugar stocks. Heavy police contingents and the officials of Punjab Food Department have been deployed at all the sugar mills to keep a check on the sugar stocks, the sources added. Interestingly, the sugar dealers have welcomed the decision of the Punjab govt no matter even if their role has been eliminated from sugar trade. 'We congratulate the Chief Minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif for taking this bold decision in the interest of the public and poor people, Asghar Butt President Lahore Sugar Dealers Association commented, when contacted. He said that it would help decrease the prices and cut down burden on the people in the era of high-inflation. Meanwhile, according to a Press release, the PSMA said that the supply chain still remains disrupted, which is likely to cause serious repercussions in the month of Ramazan. The Chairman Javed Kayani said that the existing stocks, which were in the pipeline are likely to be exhausted within the next 48 hours which would propel the sugar prices to a phenomenal level. He further said that PSMA had requested the government to withdraw its crackdown. The Federal govt agreed to it and amicable solution was worked out on the basis of realistic prices as determined by the govt. The act of provincial government is in defiance to Federal governments decision, which is contrary to the spirit of Constitution of Pakistan under Article 148, which clearly says that Federal govts directions would take precedence over provincial decisions and actions. Chairman PSMA Punjab said that the confidence of traders, investors and businessmen of this country has been shattered because the actions, which have been carried out, are taken under rules framed in the Martial Law Regime during 1958. 'This reminds of Stalinist era when the rights of citizens and freedom of trade was usurped by the rulers, Javed Kayani added. He also said that the politics being done on sugar and especially with sugar industry is extremely deplorable. The sugar industry would certainly accept to supply sugar at Rs 45 per-kg during the month of Ramazan but the Federal government should also withdraw GST on sale of sugar as prices have already been on the increase and there is no justification under the present circumstances to continue with GST. The price of Rs 45 per-kg excluding GST would be a workable solution to facilitate the domestic users of sugar. The Federal Bureau of Statistics for the last three months has been reporting a retail price of Rs 52 per kg. We are unable to understand why the Federal government acquiesced to this reporting? he questioned. The Chairman PSMA Punjab further said that the Association is holding an emergent General Body meeting on Saturday (today) to discuss at length the grievances of the members and to review the situation for amicable settlement with the govt.