Millers see ‘flour costlier for PTI voters’

Web Desk – June 25, 2020

LAHORE: Rejecting the food department’s policy of issuing wheat from its stores to mills of only five districts, flour millers allege political considerations behind the decision and have threatened to close their units across the province if a uniform policy is not implemented.

“The food department has adopted a discriminatory policy by deciding to issue wheat at official rates to mills of five districts only. We reject this decision and demand that the wheat should be supplied to mills in all 36 districts otherwise we’ll be forced to shut down our units,” threatened Pakistan Flour Mills Association (PFMA) Chairman Asim Raza at a press conference here on Wednesday.

Flanked by Mian Riaz, Habib Leghari and others, he said the department decided to issue wheat at Rs1,600 per 40 kg to the mills located in Lahore, Gujranwala, Rawalpindi, Faisalabad and Multan only where the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf had lost the polls in 2018.

Wheat release policy smacks of political considerations: PFMA

He alleged that the food secretary was ‘hatching conspiracies’ against the PTI government by giving a policy under which consumers of those districts would be getting flour at Rs950 per 20-kg bag where the opposition had won while people of other districts would be getting the same at a rate between Rs1,000 and Rs1,300 per bag as per wheat price in the local open market.

He said an urgent meeting of the association has been convened for June 27 in which a decision to close down all the 965 mills to protest the food department policy would be taken.

Mr Raza recalled that the secretary had earlier not allowed the flour mills to buy wheat during the harvesting season due to which they do not have stocks.

The government, on the other hand, procured 2.5 million ton more wheat this year than in previous years, leaving a gap of 2.5m million ton in the market, which has pushed wheat prices to their peak, he said.

The government has allowed import of wheat to the private sector but the arrival of the consignment would be impossible before September and till that time the market of wheat and flour is likely to remain the same.

He said if the government wants to stabilise the prices of wheat and flour in the province, it should issue wheat to flour mills across the province on an equal basis.

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