Sugar mill owners challenge inquiry commission’s report in IHC

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Sugar Mills Association (PSMA) has challenged the inquiry commission’s report over sugar crisis in the Islamabad High Court (IHC).

The petition filed by the sugar mill owners in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) has made the federal government, inquiry commission’s head Wajid Zia and others as parties.

The petition stated that the federal government violated the constitutional regulations by forming an inquiry commission over sugar crisis on March 16.

PSMA demanded the high court to nullify the formation of the sugar inquiry commission.

On May 21, the federal government had made public a report of the Sugar Inquiry Commission formed to fix responsibility for the sugar crisis that hit the country earlier this year.

The report was uploaded on the Press Information Department (PID) website.

According to the report, the sugar mill owners had inflicted losses on sugarcane growers consistently.

The commission had also found irregularities in advance payments to farmers in the form of cash or commodity, which is tantamount to unregulated banking, whereas, the mill owners hurt farmers by indulging in informal banking and earned a profit of up to 35 per cent.

An impartial inquiry had been carried out into the production cost for the first time which revealed that the sugar mills had fixed the cost of production at Rs51 per kilo in 2017-18, but the commission estimated it at Rs38 instead.

Later on June 7, Prime Miniter Imran Khan had approved action against those found responsible for sugar crisis in the country as per inquiry commission report.

Chairing a high-level meeting in Islamabad, the prime minister had formally approved an action plan against those responsible for the sugar crisis. The action plan was prepared by the adviser on accountability Shahzad Akbar.

PM Khan had ordered to register cases against the people found guilty of their involvement in the sugar crisis in the country.

The prime minister had also directed authorities to set up a mechanism in order to bring down the prices of sugar in the country. He also ordered a forensic audit of all sugar mills across the country, said sources. The premier had approved recommendations to regulate the sugar industry.