LAHORE: Claiming that the Punjab government has accepted two of its four demands, the Pakistan Flour Mills Association (PFMA) has withdrawn its call for a strike, earlier scheduled from Tuesday.
PFMA Punjab chapter chairman Tahir Hanif Malik shared on Sunday a notification issued by Food Secretary Ali Sarfraz Hussain dated Sept 19, 2021, but signed on Oct 9 (Saturday) wherein it was stated that wheat shall be released on the basis of the targeted population of the districts while maintaining a minimum benchmark of 12 bags per roller body of the flour mill.
The notification also revisited the flour by-products extraction policy and allowed 70:18:12 (flour, fine, bran) in respect of public wheat stocks.
Mr Malik says this means the wheat quota of flour mills across the province has been increased by 60 percent as well as the condition of reducing the extraction ratio of fine and bran from 20 to 30 has been withdrawn.
He says the other two demands pertaining to increasing grinding charges and allowing them to get wheat by a mill from the district it is located in will be accepted shortly as a summary to the effect has been moved to the provincial cabinet.
In view of the developments, he says, the association has decided to withdraw its call for closure of mills from Tuesday.
The food department earlier decided that the millers would have to lift at least 25 pc of their respective quota of grain from districts other than their mills located in. It had also reduced grain grinding rates from Rs600 to Rs400 per 100kg.
The millers desired that the government either restore the grinding charges or allow them to increase the flour price. They opposed an abrupt change in the by-products’ extraction ratio arguing the policy should be implemented in phases, otherwise the consumers, habitual of eating white flour, would complain about a change in quality.
The PFMA had on Friday set a three-day deadline for the government to accept its demands by Monday otherwise, all the millers would stop grinding wheat from Tuesday for an indefinite period.
Published in Dawn, October 11th, 2021