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Sugar Crisis and Accountability

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Forty years ago, one of the reasons of downfall of Field Marshal Muhammad Ayub Khan, then president of Pakistan, was the increase of sugar price from Rs.1.50 per kg to Rs.1.75 per kg. Our country has been passing through the sugar crisis for over two months now. Sugar which was earlier available in the market in plenty at Rs.38.00 to Rs.40.00 per kg is in short supply and the shopkeepers are selling it at the rates of their choice from Rs.50.00 to Rs.80.00 per kg in different parts of the country. And, this is happening despite the ruling of the Supreme Court of Pakistan that sugar be provided to the masses at Rs. 40.00 per kg.

All Pakistan Sugar Mills Association (APSMA) has repeatedly brought out that it had informed the Ministry of Production in early Summers that, in view of less production of Sugar in the country, government should import sugar which was then available in the international market at cheaper rates than now. According to APSMA, Ministry of Production did not follow the advice and this is the main cause of the present sugar crisis. Federal as well as the provincial governments continue to opine that the crisis is prevailing because of the hoarding on part of the sugar mills and the wholesalers. The other opinion is that Supreme Courts ruling has discouraged the market forces to come into play resulting in the crisis. However, the fact is that the ruling came much after the crisis had already begun. Provincial governments continue to boast of administrative measures like raiding of the few of the sugar mills and recover thousands of sugar bags hoarded by them. Provision of sugar to the masses at the rate of Rs.40.00 per kg through government run Utility Stores, too, has been boasted about but once the masses cue up to buy sugar during the announced two hours period, to their total disappointment, they are unable to buy any sugar as either the stores are closed or the sugar is not there to be sold. This is resulting in unrest and agitations in small numbers which is likely to grow with every day passing. Either the government officials are incompetent or they are party to the artificial escalation of prices. Both of these are inexcusable.

Notwithstanding the fact that Field Marshal Muhammad Ayub Khan was a dictator, finding himself being unable to control the agitations, he chose to resign. I doubt if any such option is even under consideration of the worthy president, prime minister, chief ministers or the concerned federal and provincial ministers. We are yet to hear even a single case of proceedings against any of the culprits; government officials, the mill owners or the wholesalers. Not a single head has rolled but for that of poor masses who are in search of sugar from pillar to the post. Initiated by a private TV channel, our political leadership, in the government and opposition alike, could not think of 'Stop using sugar drive' and have not bothered to support it by personal example.

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posted @ 2:55 PM,


At April 6, 2015 at 1:25 PM, Blogger Shijun Lin said...

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