The Federal Food Committee (FFC) has imposed a ban on the sale of 100,000 tons of reportedly 'poisonous sugar' lying with the Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP), in open market, well-placed sources told Business Recorder here on Sunday.
THE TCP HAS ALREADY SOLD NEARLY 0.4M TONS OF SUGAR CONTAINING SIMILAR HARMFUL CONTENTS: However, the TCP has already sold nearly 0.4 million tons of sugar containing similar harmful contents, including sulphur, which is highly injurious to health, the sources added.
The sources said that FFC Chairman Lieutenant General Farooq Ahmad (Retd) had directed the concerned ministry to reprocess 100,000 tons of unsold stock of sugar for making it fit for human consumption, at a recent meeting in Islamabad.
"One hundred thousand tons of imported sugar is available with TCP and sold in open tenders, should be reprocessed by sugar mills to make it fit for human consumption," the sources quoted Industries Ministry as recommending to the caretaker federal cabinet in its meeting presided over by the Prime Minister Muhammedmian Soomro on January 22.
"The FFC Chairman has cited caretaker Prime Minister Soomro as directing him to reprocess the old stock of TCP which contains sulphur," the sources said, adding that such doubts may have been created in prime minister's mind by a Pakistan Sugar Mills Association (PSMA) delegation which met him recently.
The sources questioned why a huge quantity of 0.4 million tons of sugar with similar contents was allowed to be sold during two years. There have been no reports of deaths or injuries the consumption of this "highly injurious to health" sugar may have caused, the sources pointed out.
The TCP imported 0.5 million tons of sugar a couple of years ago, of which 100,000 tons is still lying with it and now being sold on open tenders. They said, the FFC Chairman's recommendation has been conveyed to the TCP for reprocessing of old stock to make it fit for human consumption, but the corporation did not agree with the proposal, arguing that the mills would be demanding Rs 3 to 4 on each kg of sugar for this purpose and, questioning who would be bearing this loss.
The sources further said the TCP had dispatched the samples of reportedly injurious sugar to laboratories to ascertain whether it contained sulphur contents. In case its results are positive, it would be binding for the TCP to get it reprocessed.
The federal cabinet reviewed the sugar situation in its previous meeting and agreed with the proposal of Industries Ministry that export of sugar should not be allowed till the end of crushing season by April 2008.
The TCP Chairman, Abdul Malik, is not responding to calls on his cell phone. Dr Junaid, one of the directors at the TCP, is busy with his dentist for the last two days. Several messages left with his office, remained unanswered.
General Manager Sultan Awan, who is in-charge of godowns, says: "In late 2006 or early 2007 some sugar was imported. A potion of it has already been sold out. 100,000 tons is still lying with TCP. We have not sold out 0.4 million tons recently. I do not know if there is any instruction from the FFC that a ban has been imposed on the sale of this stock."