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Sugar mills owners & farmers give proposals; court will review proposals & will issue appropriate order, directs SC

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Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, while conducting hearing of the case pertaining to purchase of sugarcane in the South Punjab, has said that the relocated Sharif sugar mills will not open “come what may”. The Supreme Court (SC) directed sugar mills owners and the farmers to give their proposals, saying that the court will review their proposals and will issue an appropriate order.

Three-member bench of Supreme Court of Pakistan headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar on Monday conducted hearing of the case pertaining to purchase of sugarcane in the South Punjab.

Supreme Court (SC) disallowed the reopening of sugar mills owned by the Shraif family in south Punjab. Chief Justice said that sugar mills have already assured of purchasing the sugarcane, saying that the farmer will get the price fixed by the government.

During the hearing of petitions filed by growers for the reopening of three relocated sugar mills: – Chaudhry Sugar Mills to Rahim Yar Khan, Haseeb Waqas Sugar Mills to Muzaffargarh and Ittefaq Sugar Mills to Bahawalpur – Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar said that the mills will not open “come what may”.

Farmers approached the apex court to allow crushing of sugarcane for the current season after LHC had declared the relocations illegal and ordered that the owners of the mills return them to their previous locations within three months, having observed that the Sharif family had illegally relocated the mills. The order came in a case filed by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s Jahangir Tareen, where he challenged the relocation.

In their petition, the farmers said that the season’s crop will be wasted if the mills are not allowed to operate. However, the top court had turned down their request and directed owners of five other sugar mills to buy the crop instead.

The five sugar mills owners, including Jahangir Tareen, had given undertaking that they would lift all the sugarcane from three districts at the price of Rs180 per 40kg. However, dissatisfied with the arrangement, the growers pointed out that the mills do not have the capacity to crush the amount of sugarcane in the area.

Chief Justice Saqib Nisar maintained that the court will not allow the mills to operate “even if we have to organize a fund to compensate the farmers”. He observed that the banned sugar mills may be creating hurdles for the farmers, saying that they should compensate the farmers.

The CJP questioned the nexus between Punjab government and the banned mills and expressed annoyance over the local administration’s failure to resolve the issue.

“Either you are incompetent or partisan,” Justice Saqib Nisar told the Rahim Yar Khan district coordination officer, “You are flaring up the situation and creating problems for the farmers.”

Justice Nisar said the court’s priority was to not let the poor farmers suffer. The court directed that all the parties concerned should conduct meeting wherein the cane commissioner will also be present. The chief justice said that the farmer will get the price fixed by the cane commissioner, saying that the farmer will be given the cheque on unloading the trolly.

Chief justice said that the time period for cashing the cheque will also be determined and the proceeding of bounce cheque will be initiated if the cheque was not cashed in the fixed period of time, saying that such formula should be given which is acceptable.

Chief justice said that the court is not the institution meant for making polices, however, the court can interfere in the policy framed against the law. Chief justice said that the court can review the policy made by the government.

The court said that sugar mills owners and the farmers gave their proposals, saying that the court will review their proposals and will issue an appropriate order.

Justice Umar Ata Bandyal said that the sugar mills will not stand any tractor-trolly for more days , saying that they farmers should be paid the price of the sugarcane in the stipulated time and there would be results if it was not done as the chief justice has already said.

The three-member bench directed representatives of the five sugar mills to formulate a proposal for the buying and selling of sugarcane crops and present it to the top court, saying that the apex court will supervise buying and selling of the crop. The court adjourned hearing until February 21.

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