KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has said that due to the wrong policies of the federal government a dispute between the growers and the sugar millers have emerged, therefore mills have refused to start crushing and the standing sugarcane crop is turning pale.
The chief minister said this while talking to media after inaugurating two roads, Hub River and Surjani-Madinatul Hikmat Road near Hamdard University today. He was accompanied by the Local Government Minister Jam Khan Shoro, Fisheries & Livestock Minister Mohammad Ali Malkani, Works& Services Minister Imdad Pitafi, MPA Saeed Ghani and secretary Local Government Ramzan Awan among others.
Replying to a question, the chief minister said that the matter of sugarcane crushing was taken up in the CCI meeting held on November 24, in Islamabad. “I told them that the problem has been created by the federal government by adopting wrong policies,” he said adding that the federal government imposed the ban on the export of sugar in December 2016, Jan, Feb, March and April, and therefore the sugar which was lying in the warehouses could not be exported.
He said that Pakistan produces around eight million tons of sugar every year against the local consumption of hardly five million.
“This shows that every year we have three million tons of sugar in excess,” he said adding that “had the federal government not imposed ban on the export of sugar we would not have any problem of surplus stock.”
He iterated that the wrong policies of the federal government the mechanism of demand and supply became misbalanced and now “the country is facing a serious situation.”
Murad Ali Shah said that in the international market there is a price difference of around Rs 15; therefore the federal government has assured the provincial governments in the CCI that it would give subsidy on the export of sugar for which the provincial governments would also take some financial burden.
Replying to another question, the chief minister said that the CCI meeting was informed that no sugar mill has started crushing in Punjab but nobody has protested or dared to come onto the roads.
Punjab was to start crushing from November 1.
“But, in Sindh sugarcane crushing matter has been politicized and this is causing loss to the growers,” he said and added “his government was with the growers who grow their crops after extensive hard work and investment,” he said and added that the standing sugarcane crop was turning pale and must be harvested as soon as possible.
He said that in the present situation of deadlock, the federal and the provincial governments have decided to intervene to starting crushing and disposing of the sugar stocks through export. “The Sindh government in coordination with the federal government is working out a plan to give subsidy and announce sugarcane prices,” he said.
Talking about the Sindh Governor Zubair Ahmed, the chief minister said he is his best friend but he doesn’t know the facts.
“The Green Line project has been delayed due to the non-serious attitude of the federal government,” he said and added that it was a Rs16 billion project and the federal government had allocated only Rs5 billion, which is why it could not be completed in four years.
The chief minister also said that he would direct Transport Minister Syed Nasir Shah to make the necessary provision for student tickets [concessional] in the BRT system. “It is important and we would ensure it,” he said.
On the prevailing situation in Faizabad, Murad Ali Shah said that he has given clear instructions to the divisional administration all over Sindh to take necessary measures to avoid the reaction of the operation launched in Islamabad.
“We would not allow anybody to take law in his hands,” he said.
The chief minister said that he had pressed the federal government to ratify three percent census blocks to make the census credible but at that time they agreed to ratify only one percent.
“In the CCI meeting [Nov 24], the federal government agreed to ratify 5 percent census blocks so that people of the country can trust it. “This is a good move and I hope ratification would make credible,” he said.
The chief minister inaugurated two important roads, Hub River and Surjani-Madinatula Hikmat roads at their sites by unveiling their plaque in a simple ceremony.
The Hub River Road, a part of Karachi Mega project started in December 2016 was completed within 15 months. It is a 12-km long road and was constructed for Rs1.25 billion. A stormwater drain spreading over 1.62 km has also been constructed on the one side of the road.
The Surjani-Madinatual Hikmat Road was also constructed within six months with the additional construction of the road from Northern Bye Pass to Hamdard University. The cost of the project was Rs1246.16 million. It has a three-lane [on each side] dual-carriageway.
The chief minister addressing the gathering said that the projects launched under Karachi Package Phase-I are at the completion stage and now “we are going to launch Phase-II from December 15.”