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May 19, 2019

Growers move SHC against non-payment of last 20 years’ quality premium

Karachi

May 19, 2019

A body of growers on Saturday filed a petition with the Sindh High Court (SHC) seeking action against sugar mills’ owners for not paying quality premium to the growers for the crushing seasons of the last 20 years between 1998-99 and 2018-19, and the minimum procurement price of sugar cane at Rs182 per 40 kilogrammes (kg) to the growers for the 2018-19 crushing season.

The Sindh Growers Alliance submitted in the petition that the sugar mills’ owners were liable to pay the growers the quality premium at the end of the crushing season at such rates as may be determined by the government in proportion of the sucrose recovery of such factory in excess of the base level sucrose contents, viz. 8.7 per 40 kg.

Petitioner’s counsel Syed Mureed Ali Shah submitted that the sugar mills had gone in litigation against the raise of 32 paisa per 40 kg to 50 paisa per 40 kg and obtained stay from the higher judiciary.

The counsel submitted that the Supreme Court had dismissed the petitions of the sugar mills on March 5, 2018 and observed that the grant of quality premium was just and fair based on statutory provisions.

He argued that the apex court held that the impugned notification was validly issued and observed that in the future, a notification as per the past practice for payment of quality premium should be issued along with the notification of fixation of the minimum procurement price of sugar cane and the same should be paid to the growers not later than two months after the crushing season was over.

He submitted that the Sindh government had issued a notification in compliance with the Supreme Court order and directed the sugar factories in the province to pay quality premium to the cane growers at the end of the crushing season 2018-19 at the rate of fifty paisa per 40 kg cane for each 0.1 per cent of excess sucrose recovery above 8.7 per cent determined on the overall sucrose recovery basis of each mill.

The lawyer said despite the SC judgment, the sugar mills had miserably failed to pay quality premium to the sugar cane growers for the crushing seasons from 1998-1999 to 2018-19 and it was clearly proved beyond any doubt that 37 sugar mills were actively involved in continuously violating, disobeying, obstructing and making mockery of the judgment of the SC and they were liable to be punished for violating the court orders.

The SHC was requested to punish the sugar mills’ owners for not paying quality premium to the growers for the crushing seasons between 1998-99 and 2018-19 in violation of the court orders and direct the government to implement its notification and take coercive action against the respondents.

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