PESHAWAR: Due to the reduction in wheat grains supply to flour mills in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the price of 20-kilogram flour bag has jumped to Rs1,300 amid the coronavirus-led lockdown.
Pakistan Flour Mills Association’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Group Leader Mohammad Naeem Butt told Pakistan Today that the government has failed to meet the grain demand of flour mills.
“Currently, there are 200 flour mills operating in the province hav the demand of 13,000 tonnes of wheat, whereas the government is providing just 6,000 tonnes of wheat,” he said.
Prior to the lockdown, the KP government was providing 5,000 tonnes of wheat to flour mills as the province was getting 7,000 tonnes supply in the form of wheat and flour before the coronavirus lockdown in the country.
But now, the supply has been stopped due to which there is now crises like situation in the market, Butt noted.
“The situation can be improved only if the Sindh government lifts ban on the supply of wheat outside their province. Farmers in Sindh have harvested the wheat crop and the grain is lying with farmers, but the Sindh government has imposed ban on wheat transportation to other province.”
The miller said the federal government was asked to raise the issue with the Sindh government as the KP province would be more affected due to wheat shortage.
Therefore, the association had requested Chief Minister Mahmood Khan and the federal government to allow them to bring wheat directly from Sindh, he added.
“We have already purchased grain in Sindh, but the Sindh government is now allowing trucks to be transported to KP. If allowed we can bring back the price of 20kg bag to Rs 950,” the association’s office-bearer said.
Haji Mohammad Tariq, a flour mill owner, said the provincial government was responsible for the flour crisis in province it had not been able to supply grains to mills as per the demand due to which the workers had also been rendered jobless.
He said they (millers) had asked the government to at least provide wheat to every mill for one shift of (8 hours) to end the flour crises, but no attention was paid to their demand.
According to Tariq, the provincial government is also charging flour mills Rs150 per sack while such charges have not been imposed in Sindh and Punjab provinces.
The KP government has fixed 20kg bag at Rs768, but still the public is not getting it at this rate in the market, he added.
He feared that the employment of 12,000 workers in flour mills was also at stake.