LAHORE: Chief Minister Usman Buzdar has directed the food department and the administration to ensure the sale of flour bags at a fixed rate within 24 hours.
The chief minister said here on Thursday the hoarders would not be allowed to exploit people and sale of flour at an excessive rate would not be allowed.
“I will not tolerate any delay in the provision of flour bags to people at a fixed rate after the release of government wheat to mills,” he asserted and added an action would be initiated against those involved in overcharging.
Mr Buzdar said the government decisions should be strictly implemented and administrative machinery caught hoarders by going out in the field and taking stock of the situation at a grassroots level.
A food department spokesman said the Punjab Food Department was releasing 17,000 metric ton of wheat to functional flour mills on a daily basis. He said 525,752 flour bags had been supplied in the market. For the convenience of people, he said, the price of 20kg and 10kg flour bags had been ensured at the retail price of Rs860 and Rs430, respectively.
However, sources say only 25 per cent of retailers in Punjab sold flour bags on government rates.
Sources say the government had declared over 250 mills as non-functional and did not provide them government quota of wheat. On the other hand, over 200 mills that were provided government quota expressed their restraint to get the wheat quota owing to strict and impractical conditions.
Besides complaining that the respective districts’ administrations had deployed their employees at mills’ gates to monitor the flour production, sources say the Punjab needs 30,000 tonnes of wheat every day whereas the food department is releasing 16,800 tonnes leading to a shortfall of some 13,000 tonnes. This crisis would continue to persist during the next two months, claimed sources.
DISASTER MANAGEMENT: The chief minister has said that the Punjab Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) should devise districts’ emergency plans and make effective arrangements to control the possible floods.
Mr Buzdar was speaking to Provincial Minister for Disaster Management Mian Khalid Mehmood, who called on him at his office on Thursday.
Mr Mahmood briefed the chief minister about the arrangements made for combating possible flood.
The CM said he would be visiting various districts to review the flood-related arrangements and PDMA’s arrangements.
He said the weather situation should be shared by PDMA with the line departments and an early flood warning system should be kept fully activated. Similarly, people should be kept informed about weather and the situation of rivers’ water through social media and other means of communication.
Published in Dawn, July 10th, 2020