LAHORE: Chief Secretary Azam Suleman Khan on Sunday directed the commissioners and deputy commissioners to coordinate with departments of food and industries to prevent artificial shortage of flour and ensure its sale at the price fixed by the government.

He issued these directions while addressing a meeting of the commissioners and deputy commissioners through video link. The meeting was attended by administrative secretaries of various departments including food, industries and agriculture, the director food and the deputy commissioner, Lahore.

Mr Khan asked the administrative officers to come out in the field to check demand and supply of flour. He said the deputy commissioners should launch crackdown on hoarders and profiteers instead of sitting in their offices so that people could be provided relief. He directed that special measures be taken to ensure sufficient supply of flour in the high-demand areas.

He asked the officers to keep a check on supply of flour from mills so as to prevent its hoarding. He also issued instructions regarding stocktaking at all warehouses of the food department.

Lahore DC says talks with owners of grinding mills will bear fruit

DC: The city administration says the flour price issue with the owners of wheat grinding units (chakkis) in Lahore will be settled in a day or two.

It has also offered supply of wheat to the food department from Lahore and its adjoining districts in case there is any problem.

“Unfortunately, the price of flour at chakkis in Lahore and other parts of the province was not regulated. Thus it led to increase in its price and consequent public complaints,” Deputy Commissioner Danish Afzaal told Dawn.

“There is no doubt Rs70 per kg price of flour at chakkis is unjustified since the wheat is available in the market at Rs1,700 to 1,800 per 40kg. The officials have told the chakki owners that even Rs65 per kg is unjustified. The matter will be resolved by Monday (today),” the DC added.

He said the city admin at a meeting on Sunday offered the food department to supply wheat if there was shortage. “Actually, they (food department) procures wheat from various districts including Sahiwal and Bahawalnagar under a credit mechanism. Though we offered them wheat supply from Lahore, they did not agree due to expected disturbance in their procurement mechanism. However, we have asked them to give us a final reply till Monday,” he said.

He said the city administration had set up 27 sale points of flour where half of the 40,000 flour bags were sold on Sunday. He said there was no shortage of wheat in Punjab as the rates of wheat and flour increased owing to impact of high flour prices in Sindh and KP.

Published in Dawn, January 20th, 2020