— Dawn
— Dawn

SAHIWAL: Commissioner Muhammad Ahsan Waheed has directed 26 flour mills of the division to set up ‘fair price stalls’ at their entrance gates to make flour available to the people at subsidised rate of Rs783 per 20kg bag.

It is said there are 12, 10 and four registered flour mills in district Okara, Sahiwal and Pakpattan, respectively and they have also been directed to set up stalls at their entrance gates.

Food Department Deputy Director Shaikh Abdur Rauf while talking to Dawn says the ex-mill rate is Rs22 less than the actual rate offered at different fair price shops in the Sahiwal division.

Mr Rauf claims that other than fair price shops, 15, 14 and nine private shops have been set up in Sahiwal, Pakpattan and Okara where flour is being sold at Rs805 per 20kg bag.

In the open market, fine quality flour is being sold at Rs1,000 and Rs1,400 per 20kg bag.

The commodity is being sold in division at three different rates

The officials claim fair price shops are being set up to control the flour price in the open market that the stockists have raised after the media outrage at the flour shortage.

The citizens belonging to the low-income groups, both from the urban and rural localities, are buying buy flour from the mills gate. However, there are allegations of the bad quality of flour being made available there.

Talking to Dawn, a customer says flour being sold at fair price shops or at mill gate is not good quality.

A fair price shop dealer in Farid Town locality alleges that the flour supplied at fair price shops or sold with at ex-mill rates rate at the mills’ gate is substandard and of low quality.

“The flour mills are not sending their popular brands to the fair price shops but their second rate brands,” he says.

There are reports that shopkeepers are selling their best quality wheat flour at Rs70 per kg. Many flour dealers in the city admit there is no shortage of flour both at the mills and with stockists but a 20kg flour bag being sold in the district at three different rates of Rs783 (ex-mill), Rs805 (fair price shops) and Rs1,400 (fine quality).

The food department officials claim they are daily monitoring 600 shops across division. Mr Rauf, the deputy director of the department, categorically denies reports of the shortage of flour in Sahiwal division.

Published in Dawn, January 27th, 2020