Delay in starting crushing of sugarcane will result in 3 years imprisonment and fine of Rs 5 million per day, amended ordinance. Photo: File

Lahore: The Punjab Government has issued the Sugar Factories (Control) Amendment Ordinance 2020.

The Punjab government has taken a historic step to control the sugar mafia. The provincial government has issued the Sugar Factories (Control) Amendment Ordinance 2020, through which fundamental changes have been made in the Punjab Sugar Factories (Control) Act, 1950.

Under the amended ordinance, delay in payment of dues of sugarcane growers, illegal deduction in weight and payment will be punishable by 3 years imprisonment and a fine of Rs 5 million. Sugar mill will be required to issue formal receipt for recovery of sugarcane. Sugarcane dues will be credited to the farmer's account, Sugar Mill agents will be required to issue formal receipts to the mills on sugarcane and it will be a crime for the mills to issue raw receipts to farmers.

The ordinance states that the Cane Commissioner has been given the power to determine and collect the dues of the farmers. The collection of dues can be done through the Land Revenue Act. If the dues of the farmers are not paid, the mill owner can be arrested The Deputy Commissioners, as Additional Cane Commissioner, will be bound to carry out the arrest and execution orders.

According to the amended ordinance, delay in starting crushing of sugarcane carries a penalty of three years imprisonment and a fine of Rs 5 lakh per day. 30 have been transferred to the Magistrate. Amendments to the Sugar Factories Act will protect the rights of sugarcane growers.

On the other hand, the owners of sugar mills have expressed concern over the Sugar Factories Amendment Ordinance and said that it would be impossible to do business in the presence of the new law. Such legislation is an attempt to shut down the sugar mill industry. The Sugar Mill Association has called an emergency meeting of mill owners to announce its response and strategy to the new law.

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