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SAHIWAL, Aug 29: Millers have rejected the Punjab government’s offer to buy wheat at Rs560 per 40kg and sell flour at Rs290 per 20kg. As a result, none of the nine flourmills located in Sahiwal district applied to the district food controller for wheat till Friday evening, 24 hours after the Punjab government released the wheat quota for flourmills.

As the standoff between the district government and the district flourmills association continued, District Coordination Officer Muhammad Khan Khichi tried to convince the flour millers to accept the government offer, but they refused outright.

Haji Sajjad, president of the Sahiwal chapter of the Pakistan Flourmills Association, said millers could not sell 20kg flour bag at Rs290 after buying wheat at Rs560 per 40kg from the government because they also had to pay Rs60 for a jute bag to the food department. He said at the current rate 40kg wheat would cost millers Rs660, excluding the cost of labour, electricity and machines. “We have to pay from our own pocket Rs70-80 on each flour bag of 20kg if we accept the government offer. This is unjust and unfair.”

A meeting of food department officials and flourmill representatives was still under way when this report was filed on Friday evening. "Implementation of the Punjab government order is our agenda," a food official told this correspondent on condition of anonymity.

It is learnt that the Pakistan Flourmills Association had called a meeting of its office bearers in Lahore for Friday night. Another round of talks is likely between food officials and flour millers to sort out the differences.