Substantial quantity of Wheat available, LHC told

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LAHORE: The Additional Chief Secretary informed the court that there was a substantial quantity of wheat available in the flour mills and in the market. The government official said that 2.3 million tons of wheat is still available. The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Friday adjourned the hearing till January 31, seeking response from the federal government on the petition filed against the import of wheat. Chief Justice LHC Mamoon Rashid Sheikh heard the plea. The court inquired whether the wheat was smuggled, given to Afghan refugees or taken to other province. To which the Additional Chief Secretary informed the court that there was a substantial quantity of wheat available in the flour mills and in the market. The government official said that 2.3 million tons of wheat is still available, to which the court queried then why there is an impression that wheat was not available and flour is expensive. The food secretary informed that Chakki owners purchase wheat from open markets on high price so they raise their rate list. The LHC in its remarks said that there was a lack of communication between the institutions. A coordination system should be adopted to facilitate inter-department communication, the court contended. Additional chief secretary said that four more additional chief secretaries are being posted in this regard. The court said that there are complaints of adulteration in 60 percent of the flour. The high court then adjourned the hearing until January 31 and has sought response from the federal government. The ECC of the Cabinet on Monday decided to allow import of 0.3 million tons of wheat to bring down its prices in the local market, subsequent to reported shortage of wheat that led to escalation of flour prices in the country