ISLAMABAD JAN 19 (DNA) – Prime Minister Imran Khan taking notice of the reports about an uncontrolling surge in prices of flour, has ordered a nation-wide crackdown on hoarder and profiteers to curb the flour crisis.
He directed the concerned officials to effective steps in order to stabilize the prices of flour. He ordered to take strict and indiscrimination actions against profiteers.
PM Imran emphasized on arresting and selling the warehouse of elements involved in illegal hike of the wheat flour’s prices.
Meanwhile, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) president Shehbaz Sharif slammed the rise in prices of flour across the country.
“Aata crisis and massive price hike is yet another reminder of sheer callousness that is hallmark of the PTI government. People’s lives are being made miserable by the day with government’s apathetic attitude!,” the PML-N leader expressed.
The opposition leader had urged the incumbent government to reveal the truth on shortage of the basic food commodity in Pakistan.
Shehbaz Sharif had said that it was the right of the people to know what happened to wheat stocks of the country. He went on to say that the premier should take strong action against elements involved in creating the conundrum and resolve the matter on an immediate basis.
Flour prices surge to Rs70 per kg
On Jan 18, the prices of flour across the country soared to Rs70 following a surge of Rs6 per kg.
According to details, the flour’s prices has surged by Rs6 per kg and a bag of 1kg flour will be sold at Rs70. This has been witnessed for the second time in the past couple of weeks. The prices has been hiked by Rs2o in PTI’s government period.
Naanbai Association has also announced a hike owing to the increasing prices of the flour.
PM Imran took notice of the matter and designated Jahangir Tareen and Minister for National Food Security and Research Khusro Bakhtiar to look for an immediate resolution over the inflation-related crisis.
Both politicians have been directed to seek solution to ensure the decrease in the prices of flour.
The premier has tasked Tareen and Bakhtiyar to seek counsel from the Chief Minister of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and come up with worthwhile results to the issue.
The federal government is mulling releasing 1 lac ton of wheat from the quota of Pakistan Agricultural Storage and Services Corporation (PASSCO).
Flour delivery from Punjab halted, crisis erupts in KP
Flour delivery from Punjab has been closed for five days as crisis starts erupting in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).
According to details, flour stock in Peshawar has left for only two days and price of 20 kg flour bag has increased by Rs 100 in one week whereas the rate of 85 kg sack has surged by Rs 400-500.
The dealers have told that delivery from Punjab has been halted completely. People have complained that it was already difficult to make ends meet and the new crisis has increased more miseries.
On the other hand, KP Minister for Information Shaukat Yousafzai once again urged people to not eat fine flour. He said doctors warn that fine flour can become a cause of cancer whereas local whole-wheat flour saves from stomach diseases.
The minister also questioned that why the nanbais prefer fine flour of Punjab instead of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. KP is giving subsidy on fine flour while Punjab’s fine flour is expensive, he said.
Bilawal Bhutto expresses concern over nationwide wheat crisis
Pakistan People Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari while expressing concerns on wheat shortage said that government has turned wheat producing country into a wheat importer.
Reacting to rising wheat prices across the country, the Chairman PPP expressed concerns over the wheat crisis and said that the Federal Government had deliberately created shortage after exporting 40,000 metric tonnes of wheat to Afghanistan.
He accused Imran Khan for creating a flour crisis to provide benefit to special friends as government warehouses are full of flour.
He added that the selected Prime Minister has failed as ‘taking notices’ will not end crises. Supply of flour to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is closed for five days.
The chairman of the PPP said that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s provincial minister is advising the people not to eat fine flour and prices increased second time in a week exhibiting complete failure of the government.
He added that the country is selling flour at the most expensive prices in history.
Marriyum Aurangzeb criticises govt over shortage of wheat flour
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb on Saturday lashed out at the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) for rising inflation in the country.
In her talk to the media, she stated that in 16 months, gas tariffs have been raised by 250 percent, and the acute shortage of wheat flour was tantamount to “worst incompetence” by the government.
“In Imran Khan’s naya (new) Pakistan, do people eat from the almonries?” she asked, while expressing grave concerns about the shortage of wheat flour and closures of tandoors.
She termed it “worst incompetence” by the government despite roti and naan prices of Rs15 and Rs20, respectively.
“Mr Imran, if one person have had committed suicide 16 months ago, then millions of poor people would have been saved from committing suicide,” she said, while claiming that after the destruction of poor people’s houses, shops, and businesses, they have been deprived of wheat flour as well.
She asserted that the inflation has risen by 14 percent and the development has been halved, and asked: “Whom do you talk of providing relief daily?”
CM Buzdar takes strict notice against unnecessary hike
Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar also took strict notice the unnecessary increase in flour price in some districts of the province and directed to take immediate administrative measures for stabilizing the flour prices
Chairing a meeting at Chief Minister‘s Office held to review the demand and supply and prices of flour in the province.
He directed to immediately remove the Food Department officers involved in irregularities and negligence from duties.
Usman Buzdar said that he would not tolerate the unnecessary increase in flour price at any cost. On the strict instructions of Chief Minister, Punjab Food Department has initiated crackdown and took action against 376 flour mills and imposed an overall fine of above Rs 90 million besides suspending the license of 15 flour mills.
Action has also been initiated against the food department officers for showing negligence in their duties and four such officers have been removed from their posts.
District Food Controller Gujranwala Rohail Butt, District Food Controller Sialkot Nasrullah Khan Nadeem have been suspended while Deputy Director Food Department Faisalabad Kamran Bashir and District Food Controller Vehari Sagheer Ahmed have been removed from their posts.
On the instructions of Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar, 126 sale points have been set up in different districts of the province for ensuring the smooth supply of flour. Flour was being supplied on the ex-mill rate at 21 sale points in Lahore division through trucks. Similarly, 55 sale points have been set up in Rawalpindi division where flour was being provided at control rate.
Moreover, flour was being provided at nine sale points in Gujranwala division at control rate through trucks, at 17 sale points in Bahawalpur division and at 24 sale points in district Sialkot where flour was being provided at control rate.
Earlier, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) on Friday has tabled a resolution against increasing inflation in Punjab Assembly.
According to details, the opposition party has told the House that the cost of pulses, vegetables, chicken meat and flour has been increased as the government of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has failed to implement the official prices.
It is to be mentioned here that the hike in the price of flour has badly irked the locals in Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar, Quetta and other parts of the country.
Usman Buzdar said that availability of flour to the people at fixed rates will be ensured. He directed to set up a monitoring cell in the Food Department for the strict monitoring of supply and demand of wheat and flour.
The chief minister said that those mills would be sealed which involved in selling flour from government wheat in the open market. He directed officers of the food department and district administration to ensure the availability of flour at a fixed price.
He directed the food minister to ensure the availability of flour in the market by going into the filed. He said that the government would not let flour price increase in Punjab.
How the flour crisis in Punjab came to light?
Important revelations were made that the wheat stock was sent from Punjab to other provinces and Afghanistan. Despite the ban, food and district officials have been involved in exportation of the flour. The food department was already aware of the flour crisis but failed to take an action, and the flour crisis took place due to differences betweem bureaucracy and public representatives. The food authorities also submitted a fake report following bureaucracy’s inapt behavior regarding the concern.