Sugar is one of the country’s most influential industries


ISLAMABAD, JUN 30 (DNA) —Dr Muhammad Hanif Mughal, Chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Shadbad, said on Sunday that the sugar industry is one of Pakistan’s most influential industrial sectors.

The exploitation of the farmers and the masses continues due to the free hand given to the sugar mills mafia. At the same time, the country can never be self-sufficient in wheat production due to this mafia, he said.

Talking to the party workers, Dr Hanif Mughal said that the mafia-owned factories that exploit the public and steal billions of rupees in tax are always shown in the loss. Despite the heavy losses claimed by many sugar millers, they do not close down the mills; instead, they keep trying to set up more factories, he added.

He said that despite the country’s surplus sugar production, many more sugar mills have been set up, and the government has to spend heavily to keep them running. He said that payment to farmers is deliberately delayed by the sugar mills so that most of the farmers sell their crops to their agents at throwaway prices.

There is also a delay in the purchase of sugarcane, which reduces its weight and causes huge losses to the farmers. The sugar mafia gains billions through illegal and unethical processes. He observed that the sugar mill mafia considers it their birthright to cheat farmers when sugarcane is being weighed, and there is no one to ask them.

Dr Hanif Mughal said that whenever sugarcane production is down, the market rates increase, prompting this mafia to manage immediate sugar imports and make the sugarcane cheaper. And when the harvest is good, it earns dollars by exporting sugar while getting billions in subsidies.

Due to delayed payments to farmers, they cannot prepare for the next crop, wheat, affecting production and food security. The influence of this mafia can be gauged from the fact that a few years ago when a federal finance minister refused to give them a subsidy, he was removed. Millers got the subsidy from the provinces instead of the centre.

It has become a routine that following protests by masse, a probe is initiated against the mafia, but never in the history of Pakistan any member of the mafia has been penalized, he said, adding that most of the time, the proceedings are halted due to interference of an invisible hand.  

As long as this mafia is allowed to exploit farmers and masses and evade tax, the agriculture sector and masses will continue to suffer, he said. — DNA