Lahore: The cane commissioner has ordered the filing of a complaint against the owners of a sugar mill in Chiniot for failing to pay a sugarcane grower despite receiving consignments of the crop.

Syed Sibte Hassan Sherazi, the assistant cane commissioner, directed the Faisalabad city police officer on Wednesday to file an FIR under section 21 of the Punjab Sugar Factories (Control) Act 1950 against Hassan Ahmed, son of Muhammad Khurshid, the occupier of Madinah Sugar Mills, Chiniot, and a resident of Faisalabad University Town, for failing to pay dues to a sugarcane grower.

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The orders were given in response to a written complaint from Riaz Hussain, who claimed to have supplied sugarcane worth about Rs1.3 million to the Madinah Sugar Mills in various consignments beginning on February 22 this crushing season. The last shipment arrived on March 1st. The total value of all 12 consignments was over Rs1.28 million, and although the complainant has the CPRs (cane purchase receipts), no payments have been made against them so far.

Mr. Hussain claims that his electricity link was cut off by the power company due to non-payment and that the complainant has no money apart from the sum owed to the sugar mill.

The plaintiff tried to take action against the mill owner under a now-defunct ordinance that required mill owners to pay sugarcane dues within 15 days of purchase and through structured banking channels.

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The ordinance, however, lost its second 60-day existence on March 24 when the provincial government failed to pass it into law, despite a bill being screened by the Punjab Assembly’s standing committee on the subject.

Cane Commissioner Muhammad Zaman Wattoo claims that the ordinance still has the authority to decide cases involving the crushing season of 2020-21. He claims that any crime committed during the period when a specific statute prohibiting the crime was in effect can be prosecuted in a court of law under that law.

As a result, he claims that his office has issued orders for the filing of an FIR against Madinah Sugar Mills for failing to pay dues to the complainant within 15 days as required by the [now defunct] ordinance.

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