SARGODHA/KHANEWAL/JHANG-Amidst high officers’ unending claims, police registered cases against 26 weighing (Kanta) operators for purchasing sugarcane at lower rates from the farmers.

According to the sources on Wednesday, Price Control Magistrates Zafar Anjum and Rafaqat Ali Bawja conducted raids at sugar mills situated at Chak 101/SB, 98/SB, Maagni, Chak 23/SB, Chak Murarak Khan, Noorpruwala and checked the sugarcane rates at purchasing centres.

The magistrates during the checking found the sugarcane was being purchased at lower rates from the farmers, instead of government prescribed rates. On the report of Price Control Magistrates police registered cases against Liaqat Khursheed, Mazhar, Irfan, Nauman, Yaqoob, Muhammad Irfan, Nasir Allah Ditta, Abdullah, Tahir Mehmood, Ghulam Abbas, Muhammad Ashraf, Nasr Hayat, Waqas Ahmad and others.

Meanwhile, Punjab Minister for Irrigation Naeem Khan Bhabha said that sugar mills would buy sugarcane from growers at the rate of Rs 180 per maund and nobody would be allowed to exploit farmers.

Addressing a meeting of sugar mills, district administration and farmers' organisations here, he constituted a three-member team to review process of purchasing sugarcane from farmers.

He said the purchase of sugarcane would continue in accordance with the given quota to each district of Southern Punjab.

Provincial Secretary Foods Shokat said that a complete monitoring of crushing season is being ensured on the special direction of Punjab government for providing maximum facilities to the growers.

He was visiting different sugar mills of Jhang. Deputy Commissioner Mudassar Riaz Malik, Assistant Commissioners and concerned staff accompanied him during the visit of sugar mills.

The Provincial Secretary Foods visited Shakar Ganj, Hunza and Haq Bahu Sugar Mills and met with representatives of growers and mills administration.

Later, he told media men that he had directed mills administration to continue crushing and provide maximum relief to growers. He said mills had been asked not to deduct weight and give Rs 180 per 40 kg to growers. He directed the DC Jhang to take strict action against unlawful sale points of sugarcane crop and discourage role of middleman to avoid grower's exploitation.

He said that a representative of district administration and growers should monitor crushing season so that problem would be resolved immediately.

He said that authorities concerned must chalk out best traffic management at the gates of sugar mills and mills should provide facilities to farmers at the mill gates. Mudassar Riaz briefed the Secretary about the steps taken for crushing season. He was in close liaison with the mills' administration to resolve all problems without any delay, he informed.