ICCI calls for ensuring wheat supply to flour mills

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By Asad Cheema

ISLAMABAD: President Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) Muhammad Ahmed Waheed has called upon the government to resolve the wheat supply issue of the flour mills of Islamabad region as any delay in this matter would give rise to another flour crisis in the region.
He said that a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan had decided to lift the ban on inter-district and inter-provincial movement of wheat while the private sector was allowed to import wheat, however, the orders of the Prime Minister have not been implemented as yet.
He said that the official target for procurement of wheat in Punjab was 4.6 million tonnes but so far 400,000 tonnes of wheat has been procured as the government rate for procurement of wheat is Rs.1400 per 40 Kg while the private rate is procuring wheat @ Rs.1950 per 40 Kg, which is why the farmers prefer to sell wheat to the private sector. He said that like every year, flour mills procure wheat from middlemen while the government quota is only 100 tonnes which is not enough.
Muhammad Ahmed Waheed said that the Prime Minister had lifted the ban on inter-district and inter-provincial movement of wheat but the employees and officials of the Punjab Food Department stop the wheat trucks meant for private sector at border areas of districts and confiscate wheat for by making payment @ Rs.1400 per 40 Kg. If this situation continues, the price of flour will go up while people will face flour shortage and if that happens, the Punjab Food Department will be responsible.
The ICCI President said that wheat in Islamabad is supplied from Central Punjab and reaches the federal capital by passing through six districts but on the way Punjab Food Department officials stop the trucks and confiscate the wheat.
He appealed to Prime Minister Imran Khan and Punjab Food Minister to intervene and issue necessary orders to ensure uninterrupted supply of wheat to the flour mills of Islamabad. He also appealed to the Chief Commissioner Islamabad Amir Ali Ahmed and Deputy Commissioner Hamza Shafqat to help in addressing the wheat supply issue of flour mills of Islamabad and not to leave them at the mercy of Punjab.