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Sugarcane price fixed at Rs103 per 40 kg                                        
By Muzaffar Qureshi

Price during last season was Rs81 per 40 kg which went as high as Rs130 due to acute shortage of cane which resulted in the shortest crushing season in the history of the province. - APP/File photo of trucks loaded with sugarcane lining up in front of a mill. KARACHI: The Sugar Factories Control Board has fixed the minimum sugarcane price at Rs103 per 40 kg for the crushing season 2009-10.

The price during the last season was Rs81 per maund which went as high as Rs130 due to acute shortage of cane — 40pc less than the previous crop. Cane shortage resulted in the shortest crushing season in the history of the province lasting only for two months compared to normal season of over four months.

The new cane purchase price was recommended by the Sindh Cane Commissioner in the board meeting held this week.

The board has representatives from mills and growers apart from the government nominees.

The minimum cane purchase price in the Punjab has been fixed at Rs100 per maund. The cane commissioner office sources told Dawn that Sindh always sets its minimum purchase price in line with the price fixed by Punjab.

Sindh always waits for the Punjab price and fixes it a few rupees higher than that.

Sindh Abadgar Board President Majeed Nizamani told Dawn that growers did not object to the new cane price because the issue has almost become a political exercise and the decision is always influenced by feudals and landlords in the government. The meeting also discussed the issue of payment of sugar development road cess charged at the rate of Rs50 per maund and is shared 25 per cent each by the mills and the growers.

The sugar mills deduct the growers’ share of the cess from payment of cane dues and are deposited in the treasury.

The meeting was informed that several sugar mills have not paid the cess since 1990-91 and these have accumulated to over Rs90 million. The cane commissioner set June 30 deadline for payment of road cess dues by the defaulting mills.

The payment of arrears of sugarcane dues to growers for the 2007-08 season also came up for discussion at the meeting.

Both the mills and the growers differ on dues figures, which was put at Rs240 million by the former and Rs1 billion by the latter.

The dues pertained to the crushing season, which was marked by a bumper crop.

The minimum price then was fixed at Rs67 per maund which was later reduced to Rs63 at the fag end of the season.

Courtesy: The DAWN;

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