KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) directed on Thursday Sindh government to hold fresh meeting of all relevant parties including sugar mills associations, Sindh Chamber of Agriculture and Sindh Abadgar Board to fix sugar price.
A division bench headed by Chief Justice Maqbool Baqar was hearing a petition filed by the sugar mill owners, who questioned the notification issued by Sindh government, fixing sugarcane price at Rs182 per 40 kilograms.
Counsel for the petitioners had submitted that his clients had filed a petition seeking its directions for the federal and provincial government to devise an effective mechanism for fixation of sugar price and questioning legality of the provision of Sugar Factories Control Act, 1950, that gives the provincial government powers to unilaterally fix a minimum price of sugarcane.
He recalled that the court while hearing the petition had directed Sindh chief secretary to convene a meeting on November 29 with all stakeholders to finalize sugar price.
Following the court order, he said, a meeting was convened where it was decided that an interim sugarcane price will be fixed at Rs155 per 40 KG for crushing season 2014-2015 till fixation of sugar price in the interest of all stakeholders to commence crushing season. The Sindh government also notified the decision on December 03 fixing price at Rs155 per 40 KG.
He said the millers had started crushing and entered into agreements with the sugarcane growers with regard to purchase of sugarcane. All of sudden, he said, the government issued a notification withdrawing its earlier notification dated December 03 and fixed the minimum price of sugarcane at Rs182 40KG arbitrarily.
The petitioners lamented they were being forced to supply and sell refined sugar at below their own cost of output. They pleaded to the court declare as illegal the notification and restrain the authorities from issuing such notifications in respect of minimum price of sugarcane.
On Thursday, the court after hearing arguments from both sides directed Sindh government to convene the meeting of all relevant parties and make an endeavor to fix the sugar price. The hearing was adjourned till December 20 when the provincial government would submit a report regarding outcome of the meeting.
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