By Asad CHeema
ISLAMABAD: President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry; ICCI Muhammad Ahmed Waheed has called upon the government to take immediate measures for accepting the demands of flour mills owners in order to avert any flour crisis in the country.
He said this while talking to a delegation of flour mills owners that called on him led by Sheikh Tariq Sadiq, Central Executive Member of Flour Mills Association. The delegation apprised him of the issues being faced by the flour millers due to some wrong policies of the Punjab Government. Ch. Mukhtar former Secretary General of Flour Mills Association, Sheikh Shaukat and others were in the delegation.
Muhammad Ahmed Waheed said that due to the strike and closure of flour mills, severe flour crisis would emerge while large number of workers would lose their jobs and people would also face great difficulties. He said the flour crisis would also enhance prices of flour leading to more miseries for the common man. He appealed to the government to resolve issues of flour mills on priority basis.
Speaking at the occasion, Sheikh Tariq Sadiq, Central Executive Member of Flour Mills Association, Ch. Mukhtar and other members of delegation said that wrong policies of Punjab Government have created flour crisis. They said that previously, government was buying wheat while private parties and flour mills were also allowed to buy wheat. However, this time under the pretext of anti-hoarding ordinance, raids were being conducted due to which wheat was not coming to wheat markets.
They said that those farmers who want to sell wheat to mills, their wheat was also confiscated during transportation and included in the government stock. They said that due to raids and confiscation, farmers have also stocked wheat and this situation has led to increase in price of wheat to Rs.1800 per 40Kg in Rawalpindi/Islamabad. They said that in previous years, private parties and flour mills were allowed to buy sufficient quantity of wheat, but government was also getting 2 lakh ton wheat per day. But this time, despite the fact that private parties and flour mills were disallowed to buy wheat, government was getting low quantity of wheat. It showed two things, one that people have stocked wheat in their homes and second the wheat production remained less than expectations. They were afraid that people who have stocked wheat in their homes will sell it on their own choice and rate that would further increase the price of wheat leading to further increase in price of flour as well.
They urged that Punjab government should remove ban on movement of wheat within the province so that people could get flour at
reasonable price. They further said that KPK was also part of Pakistan and should be allowed easy supply of wheat that would keep prices of flour at affordable rate for people.