Licences of 28 mills suspended after flour crisis, LHC told

LAHORE: At least 204 mills were found involved in the wheat shortage that led to the flour crisis in the country, a Punjab Food department’s report submitted to the Lahore High Court revealed on Friday, local media reported.

Since December last year, the licences of 28 mills had been suspended, while a fine of Rs5.62 million had been imposed on the mills with regard to the wheat crisis, the report further stated.

The department’s report further showed that 14 mills were located in the Lahore division and eight in Rawalpindi.

The report alleged that most of the people found involved in the nationwide crisis hailed from strong political backgrounds.

Among the other factors, the report said due to rupee devaluation, demand from local traders increased to overcome shortage.

Last week, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) was tasked to probe the shortage of wheat throughout the country. The Punjab government had launched a province-wide crackdown on wheat hoarders and profiteers to identify the elements behind artificial shortage of flour.

As the crisis intensified, Prime Minister Imran Khan took notice of the surge in wheat prices too.

In January, the flour price increased by five rupees due to a shortage of wheat supply.

According to the retailers’ association, fine flour that was earlier available in Rs62/kg jumped to Rs70/kg after the price of mill flour increased by five to six rupees.

In Karachi, a sack of flour was sold for Rs500 and in some areas of the city a bag of 10kg flour, which cost Rs450 before the crisis, was sold for Rs700.

In Lahore, the Punjab Flour Mill Association (PFMA) had increased the price of flour by Rs6 per kg.

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