Balochistan sets same wheat price as Sindh to curb smuggling

Published April 21, 2024
BALOCHISTAN cabinet approved procurement of 500,000 tonnes of wheat.—AFP/file
BALOCHISTAN cabinet approved procurement of 500,000 tonnes of wheat.—AFP/file

QUETTA: The Balochistan cabinet has decided to fix the wheat support price equal to that in Sindh to curb smuggling.

The decision was made on Saturday during a cabinet meeting, which also approved the procurement of 500,000 tonnes of wheat this year.

The meeting, presided over by Chief Minister Sarfraz Bugti, was told that the decision to fix the support price same as Sindh was to stop the interprovincial movement of the grain due to price difference.

Last month, the Sindh government fixed the wheat support price at Rs4,000 per 40kg.

The Balochistan cabinet also changed the procurement method for wheat and issued orders to purchase customised, modern and eco-friendly bags for wheat.

The chief minister formed a monitoring committee comprising members of the assembly to ensure transparency in the procurement process.

Other government officials will also be included in the committee.

It was also decided that the provincial government will not provide bardana (bags) to the growers starting next year. Instead, the food department will pay farmers to buy them from the market.

Secretary Food Saleh Baloch informed the meeting that around 58,000 bags were currently available with the department while a tender has been invited to purchase more bags.

The secretary was ordered to cancel the tender and purchase standard bags available in the market.

The procurement will be done on a first come first served basis and only at approved centres “without any discrimination,” the cabinet decided.

While addressing his ministers and other officials, Chief Minister Bugti expressed his displeasure over the allegations of corruption in the purchasing and distribution of bags.

He said the malpractice was “not hidden from anyone”.

CM Bugti ordered the authorities to ensure transparency in the distribution of bags and warned any process involving partiality and favouritism would not be tolerated.

He stressed the need to eliminate corruption from the food department.

Published in Dawn, April 21st, 2024

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