Punjab’s farmers demand timely start of sugarcane crushing season

SARGODHA: Farmers have demanded the Punjab government to ensure a timely start of the sugarcane crushing season by the sugar mills in Punjab and payment of fixed price announced for the year 2017-18.

Rai Farooq, a farmer, told APP that the Punjab government had fixed sugarcane price at Rs 180 per 40 kg for the current season, but mill owners were enforcing the farmers to sell their yields at Rs160 per 40 kg.

Many mills, he said, had not yet started crushing of the sugarcane as they were insisting on purchasing the crop at a low rate. He termed this practice an injustice to farmers.

Another farmer said that the sugar mills, which had started the crushing season, were not issuing Cane Purchase Receipts (CPRs) to the farmers, as only unstamped chits containing weight details were given to them.

He claimed that the sugar mills’ administrations purchased the sugarcane on the condition that they would make payment at the rate of Rs160 per 40 kg. Delay in the starting crushing of sugarcane by some sugar mills would affect the cultivation process of wheat, he added.

Sher Ali, another farmer, said the Punjab government had asked the sugar mills to start the crushing season from November 25, but mills started crushing in December. When the farmers demanded payment of sugarcane at the fixed price, some mills shut down the crushing, he added.

Meanwhile, sugarcane growers have withdrawn their protest call after getting an assurance from Deputy Commissioner Liaqat Ali Chatha that their complaints about less rates of their produce would be addressed.

The deputy commissioner in the meeting, also attended by sugar mills officials, assured by the farmers they would be given government-approved rates for their crop.

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