PESHAWAR/KOHAT: The Peshawar administration strictly restricted the movement of wheat and wheat flour out of the district for 30 days as the price of the commodities further soared in the provincial metropolis on Saturday.
The district administration imposed the section 144 in order to avoid any possible shortage of the flour. “Anyone contravening this order is liable to be proceeded against under section 188 of PPC,” according to a statement issued from the office of deputy commissioner Mohammad Ali Asghar.
The ban was imposed following a suggestion of the director food that shortage of wheat and flour was likely to be created in Peshawar due to its illegal movement out of the district.
Kohat region hit by flour shortage after Punjab ban on wheat transportation
“If movement of wheat and wheat flour is not checked, it is likely to create a crisis-like situation in the district and cause hardship to the public at large and might lead to law and order situation,” the statement said.
Meanwhile, it was observed that a 20kg bag of mixed wheat flour, which was available for Rs840 on Friday, was sold at Rs920 in the wholesale market on Saturday.
The fine flour price on Friday was Rs980 but it increased to Rs1,050 a day after. The 80kg bag, which was available for Rs4,000, was now selling at Rs4,500.
Consumers told Dawn that in the suburban localities the shopkeepers were charging the price on their own free will.
Provincial minister for information Shaukat Yousufzai told Dawn that he had personally brought the issue into notice of Prime Minister Imran Khan, who had directed the Punjab government to withdraw its order regarding ban on movement of wheat and wheat flour.
Chief Minister Mahmood Khan, he said had also taken notice of the reports and directed the authorities concerned to resolve the issue at the earliest.
The minister said the crisis had been created due to transportation of wheat flour and other products to Afghanistan, but now the supply had been restricted by the federal government in order to overcome any possible shortage.
The minister said that there was no shortage of wheat and wheat flour in KP and the government had sufficient stock to meet the local requirement.
Meanwhile, acute shortage of wheat flour has hit the entire Kohat region after a ban on its transportation from Punjab into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was imposed.
Traders claimed that the dealers transporting the commodity from Punjab had to pay Rs25,000 to Rs43,000 per truck at the checkpoint on the Punjab side of Khushalgarh Bridge to cross into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
They said the price of 20kg flour bag had risen to Rs1,200 from the earlier Rs830 and Rs850 after the ban.
Likewise, the 85kg bag used by the ‘tandoors’ and available at Rs4,000 was now being sold at Rs5,200 in the market.
The price of ‘suji’ and ‘maida’ has risen to Rs2,600 from Rs2,000 per 20kg bag.
A whole seller, Rehmat Elahi, told Dawn that after the Punjab government sealed the mills and warehouses the prices of flour and other items like ‘suji’ and ‘maida’ had risen sharply. “We are also bearing huge losses due to the ban on the commodity’s export to Afghanistan via Parachinar,” he added.
Published in Dawn, October 27th, 2019