KARACHI: The Sindh Assembly was informed on Thursday that because of a bumper wheat crop, abundant availability of its stocks with the relevant department and liberal policy of the government, a total of 17 new flour mills were established in the province over the past two years.
These mills were set up in Karachi (1), Kotri and Dadu (2), Sanghar (1), Sukkur (2), Ghotki (7), Khairpur (1) and Larkana (3).
This information was submitted to the house in a written reply by Sindh Food Minister Nawabzada Mir Nadir Ali Khan Magsi while replying to supplementary questions pertaining to his department during the question-hour session.
Responding to a question raised by legislator Abdul Moeed Siddiqui, the minister said that there was no fixed quota and all the functioning flour mills were being allowed wheat under the “liberal policy” of the government.
Replying to a question of the same member, Mr Magsi said that a no-objection certificate (NOC) was not required for the establishment of any flour mill.
However, he added, government inspectors could inspect these mills to check the quality of wheat flour.
In reply to another question, the minister said that a total of 176 flour mills were operating in the province.
MPA Jam Tamachi Unnar of the Pakistan People’s Party wanted to know as to why wheat flour was not sold at a lower price when the province had a bumper crop and flour mills had a sufficient wheat stock.
The minister replied that the issue was related to other departments as there were many factors which were beyond the control of his department.
Giving a written reply to a question of MPA Husna Aftab, the minister stated that the federal government fixed the rate of wheat for 2009-10 at Rs950/40kg and declared 343 wheat procurement centres throughout the province.
The district-wise details of these centres are as follows: 22 Hyderabad, 28 Dadu, nine Badin, six Thatta, 39 Mirpurkhas, 42 Sanghar, 20 Sukkur, 21 Gotki, 36 Khairpur, 33 Naushehro Feroz, 33 Benazirabad, 25 Larkana, 10 Shikarpur, 18 Jacobabad and one Karachi.
The minister also provided the house district-wise details of the quantity of wheat stocked in the province up to June 30, 2008 and the year-wise support price of wheat available in record from the year 1977-78 in his written reply.
The minister also provided details of the number of jute and polypropylene bags purchased for the procurement of wheat during 2009-10.
Replying to a question raised by MPA Nusrat Seher Abbasi regarding contract employees in the department, the minister denied that they were not paid salaries.
The minister said that these employees had been regularised and paid salaries along with difference bills up to June 30, 2011.
Replying to a question of MPA Arif Mustafa Jatoi, the minister said that no storage facility was built under a public-private partnership as on March 31, 2011.