KARACHI: In its attempt to stablise flour prices, the Sindh government has launched a massive crackdown against wheat hoarding across the province, except Karachi, where action is likely to be initiated after 10 to 15 days, it emerged on Thursday.

Informed sources told Dawn that the food department in its drive against hoarders seized 590,890 wheat bags of 100kg each in different districts of the province, saying that the department is expecting to recover over three million wheat bags in Karachi.

They said that more than 250,000 wheat bags were recovered in district Dadu alone within 10 hours of the drive on Thursday, adding that the captured wheat would be lifted from the mills by the National Logistic Corporation (NLC) and would be dispatched to the destinations as per requirement.

Food Minister Mukesh Kumar Chawala told Dawn that the operation against wheat hoarders was launched on the instruction of Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah to keep the stabilise prices of flour.

Crackdown in Karachi after 10 days planned

He said that sufficient amount of wheat was available in the province, though it was still in warehouses of hoarders.

“We will ensure that not a single grain is going out of Sindh,” he said.

Mr Chawala said that three different teams were formed to recover procured wheat from hoarders in interior parts of the province, adding that the food secretary and director were in the field to monitor the wheat recovery.

He said that the hoarders/traders would be given a government rate of Rs5,500 per 100 kg bag for the seized wheat.

The sources said that the food department would launch operation against wheat hoarders in Karachi after 10 to 15 days after it achieve targets in the interior districts of the province.

They said that a huge amount of wheat procured by the millers on subsidised rates was being hoarded in the city, adding that over three million bags were expected to be recovered from Karachi.

According to a report presented to the chief minister, 590,890.5 bags of wheat, each bag of 100 kg, have been recovered from different districts of five divisions – Sukkur 246,640, Shaheed Benazirabad 46,880, Larkana 228,065, Hyderabad 68,305.5 and Mirpurkhas 1,000.

According to district wise data, 101,220 bags were recovered from Khairpur; 69,770 Ghotki; 75,650 Sukkur; 28,000 Naushahro Feroze; 3,900 Sanghar; 14,980 Shaheed Benazirabad; 27,400 Jacobabad; 50,000 Kashmore; 22,065 Shikarpur; 97,000 Qambar-Shahdadkot; 31,600 Larkana; 1,000 Dadu; 17,000 Jamshoro; 30,000 Hyderabad; 3,700 Matiari; 600 Tando Allahyar; 10,922 Badin; 1,138.50 Thatta/Sujawal and 1,000 bags were recovered from Mirpurkhas.

Secretary Food Raja Khurram Shahzad personally monitored the anti-hoarding drive in every district.

Published in Dawn, May 20th, 2022

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