GB raises subsidised wheat prices amid protests

Published December 29, 2023
A Protest at Yadgar-i-Shuhada in Skardu against an increase in subsidised wheat prices.—Dawn
A Protest at Yadgar-i-Shuhada in Skardu against an increase in subsidised wheat prices.—Dawn

GILGIT: Amid prot­e­­st demonstrations, the Gil­git-Baltistan (GB) government has raised the subsidised wheat price from Rs20 to Rs36 per kilogram.

As per a notification issued by the GB food department on Thursday, the new rate will come into effect from Jan 1, 2024. Earlier, the GB government had initially planned to increase the subsidised wheat rate to Rs52/kg.

At a presser, GB Chief Minister Haji Gulbar Khan said the federal government had req­u­­ested a 70 per cent in­­c­r­e­ase in the subsidised wheat rate and advocated for targeted subsidies, benefitting only those enrolled in the Benazir Income Support Prog­ramme.

He explained that despite the initial decision to raise the subsidised wheat rate to Rs52 per kg, the GB government opted for a more moderate increase to Rs36. He outlined that each individual would receive 7kg per month, with 75pc Pakistani and 25pc Ukrainian wheat supplied to GB by Islamabad.

To ensure transparency, ration cards will be issued for the distribution of subsidised wheat in the province, according to GB Minister of Food Ghulam Muhammad.

He refuted claims that the decision was made solely by the current government, asserting that the previous administration, led by former GB chief minister Khalid Khurshid Khan, had also agreed to increase the subsidised wheat rate to Rs52. He emphasised that the federal government has been providing wheat transportation subsidies since 1974, and adjustments are made based on fluctuating transportation rates.

Despite the government’s explanations, protest demonstrations, org­anised by the Awami Ac­­tion Committee (ACC), continued across GB. Pro­tests were held at Yadgar Chowk in Skardu, where people from various pol­itical, religious and civil so­­ciety groups participated, chanting slogans against the government and exp­ressing their demands. The protesters warned of exte­n­ded demonstrations if the government procee­ded with the rate incre­ase without public consent.

Khawaja Muddasir, a member of the ACC Co­­ordination Committee, re­vealed that negotiations with government re­­presentatives had taken place, and the committee demanded a suspension of the subsidised wheat rate increase until the formation of a political government in Islamabad.

Published in Dawn, December 29th, 2023

Opinion

Editorial

First steps
29 May, 2024

First steps

IT is, without doubt, a positive development. The chief minister of KP seems to have reached an arrangement that ...
Rafah inferno
29 May, 2024

Rafah inferno

THE level of barbarity witnessed in Sunday’s Israeli air strike targeting a refugee camp in Rafah is shocking even...
On a whim
29 May, 2024

On a whim

THE sudden declaration of May 28 as a public holiday to observe Youm-i-Takbeer — the anniversary of Pakistan’s...
Afghan puzzle
Updated 28 May, 2024

Afghan puzzle

Unless these elements are neutralised, it will not be possible to have the upper hand over terrorist groups.
Attacking minorities
28 May, 2024

Attacking minorities

Mobs turn into executioners due to the authorities’ helplessness before these elements.
Persistent scourge
28 May, 2024

Persistent scourge

THE challenge of polio in Pakistan has reached a new nadir, drawing grave concerns from the Technical Advisory Group...