LAHORE: The negotiations between the government and the flour mills association on wheat price failed and the latter decided not to end the ongoing strike, Pakistan Today learnt on Monday.
According to details, the Pakistan Flour Mills Association (PFMA) had increased the price of flour. The government had asked the millers to reduce the price but on the contrary they went on strike.
According to the PFMA Punjab, the Punjab food department and the district administration are continuously raiding the mills due to which they have gone on strike.
Sources in the food department informed this scribe that a dialogue held between the association and the government remained inconclusive. However during the meeting the Secretary Food agreed with the demands that the district administration would not interfere in the flour mills, they added.
The official also agreed that there would be open supply of wheat in the province and mills could buy wheat from open market but there was a deadlock on the wheat and flour prices, sources maintained.
Sources further informed that the provincial food department had only procured 3.7 million tonnes of wheat, whereas the target was 4.8 million tonnes.
They claimed that if the targets of procurement were not achieved the Punjab government would be forced to procure one million tonnes of flour to ensure food security.
PFMA Punjab chapter chairman Rauf Mukhtar said the government had allowed to keep wheat in the mills for 72 hours for grinding, but the food department violated and raided mills against wheat stored there.
“The food department and the government have miserably failed to procure required wheat and now they are forcefully taking away the wheat from the mills,” he lamented.
The food department has also imposed a ban on the procurement of wheat from the open markets and we have shut down the mills. In case there is a wheat crisis in future then the government would be responsible for it,” Mukhtar made it clear.
When millers are not getting wheat at a cheaper rate how could they sell flour at reduced price, he questioned?
It is pertinent to mention here that 930 flour mills across Punjab including 67 in Lahore are closed and are on strike.