Home Global Village SC resolves cane growers dilemma, Tareen will buy the produce

SC resolves cane growers dilemma, Tareen will buy the produce

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Former Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Secretary General Jahangir Tareen along with five other mill owners has decided to buy the production of the cane growers who were affected by the suspension of sugar mills operation. This offer was made by the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar in a petition against the Lahore High Court for repartition of three sugar mills.

The mills are owned by the ruling Sharif family, they were allowed to appeal against the decision of the LHC. On 6th December 2016, the Punjab government issued an order; banning expansion, relocation and construction of new sugar mills in the province. However, in 2015, the provincial government amended the notification and allowed the relocation of sugar mills.

Sugarcane harvests leaves stubble behind in the roots that makes the crops inadequate for the second crop, this problem doesn’t occur in cotton crops. New mills would adversely affect the food security of Pakistan.

Three mills Ittefaq Sugar Mills Ltd, Haseeb Waqas Sugar Mills Ltd and Chaudhry Sugar Mills Ltd, which are owned by the Sharif family relocated to Bahawalpur, Muzaffargarh and Rahim Yar Khan respectively. This decision was challenged by Jahangir Tareen and other mill owners in the Lahore High Court (LHC) in 2016.

Read more: Woes of the sugarcane sector rise as farmers protest government rates

The case went on for a year and declaring the amendment illegal and a conflict of interest, the LHC ordered the three mills to be relocated back to their original locations. LHC called the amendment an abuse of power and accused the ruling family of using their authority for personal gains. Sharif family appealed against the decision in the Supreme Court. While the SC postponed the judgment on the case, the mills will not be allowed to operate.

There are also a number of ecological reasons; sugarcane crops increase the moisture content of the air, in turn inviting pest attacks. Sugarcane also has a very high water demand; it can drain the aquifers for other crops.

During the hearing the petition of the Sharif family, the three mill owners stated that the relocation would result them in a loss of millions of rupees and hundreds of employees would become jobless. Local farmers also pleaded to the SC that if the mills were relocated, their cane crops would be wasted.

Read more: Sugarcane farmers call off protest after Shehbaz assurance

The three judge bench of the Supreme Court (SC) including CJP Mian Saqib Nisar proposed two solutions to the problem, either the government would crush the crop yield and compensate the farmers or, Tareen and other mill owners should buy the cane crops. Tareen and other mill owners accepted to buy the cane produce; the issue of the farmers was resolved. The hearing was adjourned till 18th April.

Sharif family appealed against the decision in the Supreme Court. While the SC postponed the judgment on the case, the mills will not be allowed to operate.

Applications for installation of new sugar mills usually come from Southern Punjab, the area is considered as the cotton belt. The demand of additional sugarcane for the mills would come at the expense of cotton crops while the sugar demand for Punjab was easily met from the existing mills. Allowing sugar mills to be established in the area will lower our cotton yield and greatly affect the textile industry.

Read more: Sugarcane protests cause massive disruption in fruit exports

There are also a number of ecological reasons; sugarcane crops increase the moisture content of the air, in turn inviting pest attacks. Sugarcane also has a very high water demand; it can drain the aquifers for other crops.  Sugarcane harvests leaves stubble behind in the roots that makes the crops inadequate for the second crop, this problem doesn’t occur in cotton crops. New mills would adversely affect the food security of Pakistan. Burning the stubble is also a major cause of environmental pollution and smog.


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