Deadlock persists as govt, chakki owners stick to their stances

Updated January 24, 2020

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The Lahore Atta Chakki Owners Association (registered) has urged the city district administration to accept their demands in the best public interest. — AFP/File
The Lahore Atta Chakki Owners Association (registered) has urged the city district administration to accept their demands in the best public interest. — AFP/File

LAHORE: The Lahore Atta Chakki Owners Association (registered) has urged the city district administration to accept their demands in the best public interest.

“We want nothing but the provision of 100 wheat bags (each of 100Kgs) for each Chakki per day from the government,” secretary-general Abdul Rehman told Dawn on Thursday.

“The provision of five bags to a unit per day is not acceptable since it is insufficient to fulfill flour demand of the people.”

Grinding mills have been on strike since January 22 after the government got several units owners arrested for overcharging flour buyers.

He also accused the city administration for forcibly making the video footage of selling flour at the rate of Rs45 per kg. “It is not viable for us to sell flour at Rs45 per Kg since we are buying wheat from the open market at Rs2,000 per 40kg. We have cleared this to officials but they didn’t listen to us and picked up our men on Tuesday night,” he explained.

Lahore Deputy Commissioner (DC) Danish Afzaal rejects association’s stance. “It is ridiculous. How we can forcibly make video of the association office bearers? They agreed with us on selling flour at Rs45 per kg. Later, they didn’t honour their commitment on the pretext of less number of flour bags to Chakkis. They are telling a lie on a daily basis. We told them to prove their total flour sale at their units,” Mr Afzaal added.

He said there were 100 chakkis in Lahore, which used to sell flour in addition to grinding wheat of private people. Similarly, there are another 150 or so that use to grind the wheat alone. Therefore, assistant commissioners were providing five wheat bags to every grinding mill (only those selling flour) at the rate of Rs1,375 per 40 kg. “We are even ready to give wheat at this price to the exclusive wheat grinding units. But for this they will have to ensure sale of flour at Rs45 per kg,” the DC said. Mr Afzaal claimed that the flour was available at as many as 100 Chakkis at Rs45 per Kg.

Also, super stores’ owners held a meeting with the city administration on Thursday and announced ending strike. “We’re announcing the opening of our stores with provision of counters for sale of various items on DC rates after the Lahore DC assured us to resolve our issues,” Muhammad Imran Saleemi, Super Stores’ Association general secretary, said.

Published in Dawn, January 24th, 2020