LAHORE: The Punjab government has started action against the sugar mills over inflated prices of sugar and sealed mills across Punjab in a bid to bring the prices of the commodity down, sources said.
The government has also barred the mills from the sale of sugar and molasses until they agree to reduce the price of the commodity.
A source in the sugar industry told The Correspondent that they have been asked to reduce the prices to Rs84.
This was also confirmed by a high level official of the sugar mills association.
Another official of the Pakistan Sugar Mills Association, who works at the Lahore office of the body, neither confirmed nor denied that the mills have been sealed. He said that the sugar association will hold an “important” press conference in Lahore at 3pm over the recent issue of pricing.
“It is not a big deal,” he said when told that police have also been deployed outside a mill in the central Punjab.
Punjab Cane Commissioner Zaman Wattoo remained unavailable despite multiple attempts to reach him.
The Punjab government in an order on Friday fixed the retail price of sugar at Rs85 per kilogram after consultation with the federal government.
The federal government had suggested the price of sugar at Rs80 per kilogram that was notified by the Punjab government after taking incidental charges, transportation, and profit margins including all taxes, a news outlet reported.
An inquiry commission was formed by the government to probe the hike in sugar prices last year.
In its report, the commission had alleged malpractices by the sugar millers to maximise profits. The report had said that the mills earned billions by manipulating the market and evading taxes.
The mill owners call these allegations baseless.
At present, sugar is being sold at Rs115 per kilogram in parts of the country. As Ramzan is round the corner, there are indications that the price sugar will spike further, adding to an already-high inflation rate.