LAHORE - Punjab Food Minister Malik Nadeem Kamran on Thursday said that he had ordered the District Coordination Officers (DCOs) to register cases against the top management of sugar mills using delaying tactics for the payment of outstanding dues to sugarcane growers. The Minister said that he had ordered the concerned DCOs to take strict action after registering cases against Abdullah Sugar Mills Shahpur, Abdullah sugar Mills Okara, Crescent Sugar Mills Faisalabad and National Sugar Mills Sargodha who are using delaying tactics for payment of outstanding dues to the growers. According to an official handout, the Minister stated this while presiding over a meeting regarding clearance of dues of cane growers here on Thursday. Secretary Food Punjab M Irfan Elahi, Cane Commissioner Punjab Shahid Hussain and other senior officers were also present on this occasion. The Minister said that the sugar mills have so far made payment of Rs73b to the sugarcane growers while notices have been issued for the payment of remaining Rs 7.36b. He said that sugar mills had been asked to send the schedule of payment of remaining outstanding dues of sugarcane growers by March 26, 2010. He also directed the Cane Commissioner to issue legal notices to other defaulter sugar mills. The meeting was informed that so far 78 legal notices had been issued to the sugar mills involved in non-payment of dues to the sugarcane growers. The minister said that government would ensure payment to cane growers at all costs as soon as possible. He was further informed that during this crushing season, which ended on March 17 last, the sugar mills across Punjab have produced 18-lakh metric tonnes of sugar while 5-lakh metric tonnes sugar was already in the market. The meeting was also informed that Punjab govt had already requested the TCP on Nov 9, 2009 to immediately import sugar so that the commodity could be made available to the masses in the province throughout the year.