LAHORE: Both the treasury and the opposition legislators in Punjab Assembly terming the progress of public departments “zero” have suggested the government to declare the sugar mills’ CPR (cane procurement receipt) as equal to a bank cheque for easy and in-time payments to the cane growers across the province. The legislator also demanded to nationalise the sugar mills if any failed to pay its growers properly. Punjab Assembly on Wednesday held general discussion on the issues of cane growers and sugar mills in which three ministers including Rana Sanaullah, Bilal Yasin, and Sheikh Allauddin as well as several legislators from both the treasury and opposition participated and criticized the government and concern departments’ failure of not to resolve the matter of late payments, and permits of poor farmers. Law Minister Rana Sanaullah ensured the House that his government was sincere to resolve the issue between farmers and the sugar mills owners for early payments and it had already made several actions even made a raid at the house of an owner as well as arrested a general manager of a mill on non-payment to cane growers. He offered the opposition members that they should sit with them after the session to reach on any result in this regard. But the opposition refused such offer saying that such practice is useless and time wasting as it could not facilitate the grower as season is going to be end and still cane of growers was yet to be purchased by the mill owners. Opposition Leader Mian Mehmood said that government had failed to resolve farmers’ problem and sugar mills were not buying cane on the fixed public rate of Rs 180 per 40 killos. PPP’s Sardar Shahabuddin said that government must ensure starting purchase of sugar cane from the mills from 15th November every year and it should continue till end of March or April. He said deprived protesting growers were ready to burn the Layyah Sugar Mills for non payments but he stopped them to do so. He suggested the situation in future could be worst so government should take immediate measure to resolve their problems. PML-Q legislator Sardar Hasan Akhtar Moakal challenged the government and its ministers sitting in the House to produce any single farmer here who justified claims of the government about the rate of Rs 180 as the sugar mills were purchasing sugar cane on liking and disliking basis and on the low rate of 130 in central Punjab areas. PTI’s representative from Mianwali said that sugar mills were purchasing sugar cane on lowest rates in his area at Rs 70 to Rs 80 only that was very unfair to poor growers. Treasury member from Sargodha Waris Kallu while participating in the debate strongly criticized his own party’s government and said all the concern departments have been failed to resolve the issue of sugar cane farmers. Ahsan Raiz Fatiana, an independent legislator in the House suggested the government that it should nationalize any sugar mills which failed in payments to the growers. He said that unfortunately, he is also a sugar cane grower but did not succeeded to get the government’s fix price from sugar mills and has sold out his crop of sugar cane on Rs 153 per 40 killos. After the debate, chair adjourned the session till today at 10am. Punjab Assembly session started one hour and 12 minutes late to its schedule and the House adopted Question Hour about Home Department. Parliamentary Secretary Rana Muhammad Afzal answered queries of colleagues and told the House that under the Safe Cities Project in Lahore, almost all 8,000 CCTV have been installed and installations in Cantt and Defense areas would be started after getting No-Objection Certificate (NOC). Published in Daily Times, February 1st 2018.