LAHORE - On the direction of Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif, strict legal action has been started against sugar mills not making payments to farmers. Nine sugar mills have been taken into custody by DCOs on non-payment to the sugarcane growers so that after auctioning stock or mill, dues could be paid to the farmers, according to a handout.

Spokesman of Punjab government said that under Punjab Sugar Factories Control Act, all sugar mills are bound to make payment within 15 days after the purchase of sugarcane. On the direction of Chief Minister Punjab, Cane Commissioner Punjab closed four sugar mills and took them into custody through DCOs by declaring farmer dues as government dues under Land Revenue Act for payment of outstanding dues of 2014 and started the process of auctioning which include Chishtia Sugar Mills Sargodha, Abdullah Sugar Mills Okara, Abdullah-II Sugar Mills Sargodha, Haseeb Waqas Sugar Mills Nankana Sahib and Colony Sugar Mills Khanewal. Earlier, the sugar of five crore (Rs 50 million) rupees of Colony Sugar Mills was auctioned and payment made to farmers. Four sugar mills have been taken into custody through DCOs for payment of dues of 2015 so that stock or mill could be auctioned under Land Revenue Act and Sugar Factories Control Act and payment made to farmers which include Shakar Gunj–I Sugar Mills Jhang, Shakar Gunj–II Sugar Mills Jhang, Hussain Sugar Mills Faisalabad and Brother Sugar Mills Kasur.

The spokesman told that 143 billion rupees were outstanding for crushing season 2014, out of which, 99.9 percent payment has been made while legal action is continuing for outstanding amount whereas out of total dues of 134 billion rupees of crushing season 2015, 131 billion rupees have been paid. Punjab government has taken strict measures against sugar mills in the interest of farmers for the payment of dues of three billion rupees. The spokesman further told that the defaulter sugar mills of crushing season of current year obtained stay orders against the orders of Cane Commissioner Punjab. However, Food Department vigorously pursued the case and Advocate General is personally appearing so that farmers could be provided their rights. The spokesman further said that Punjab government is determined to take indiscriminate action against defaulter mills and will take all legal measures for ensuring payment of dues to sugarcane growers.