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Punjab stops supply of wheat, flour to K-P


Punjab has stopped the supply of flour and wheat to Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) province pushing up the prices further on the local wholesale and retail markets and causing an artificial shortage.
Talking to The Express Tribune Chairman K-P chapter Pakistan Flour Mills Association Sabir Ahmad Bangash has strongly criticized the decision and said that in the past too Punjab government used to ban the supply of wheat and flour to K-P whenever a crisis gripped the country and this time was no exception.
“K-P based flour mills purchase wheat on the open market in Punjab while the flour dealers also buy flour from Punjab’s mills on the open market rates to meet the local requirements,” he said, adding that such bans pushes up the prices even further up causing trouble for the consumers.
He said that in the past whenever such things occurred there were different parties in government in the center and province but this time PTI was in power in the province as well as center and even then the supply of wheat and flour was stopped suddenly by the Punjab government.
A dealer claimed that Punjab government had deployed police on GT Road as well as Motorway in order to stop the supply of flour and wheat and it was almost impossible to transport a few bags of flour to K-P even in a motor car.
It is worth mentioning here that the K-P government for the past two decades has been pursuing an open market policy as no subsidy is provided on wheat to keep prices under control like Punjab and Sindh. Because of this, consumers have to pay open market rates by buying flour produced in Punjab. Only a limited amount of wheat is provided to local flour mills by the K-P Food Department which are few in number and cannot meet the local market demand.
Read PTI’s K-P MPs unhappy with federal ministers
Sabir Bangash appealed to the Chief Minister Mahmood Khan to take notice of the situation and consult the federal government to ensure uninterrupted supply of both wheat and flour to the province.
He said that the decision was inhuman.
In K-P 80 per cent of local market demand is met by flour purchased from Punjab.
“The provincial K-P Food Department provide flour mills with just 3500 tons wheat per day while around 12500 tons flour is brought from Punjab on daily basis,” said another flour owner, adding that during a similar crisis last year the Food Department increased the supply to 7000 tons per day.
This ban has pushed up the prices of a 20 kilogram bag of flour to Rs1350 in retail in Peshawar. The official price is Rs1100.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 3rd, 2021.

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