LAHORE - The Punjab government during the last five months has shown exit to three secretaries of the provincial Food Department, besides other senior officers, but the flour crisis is deteriorating with every passing day, while giving sleepless nights to the provincial administration with the onset of Ramazan. The fourth Secretary Food Department Squadron Leader (r) Muhammad Irfan Elahi will be assuming his duties from Wednesday (today), who is second former air force man to do the honours, while the first Squadron Leader (R) Ahmed Yar Khan, was given the unceremonious exit on March 20 after about a month since the present govt was declared successful in February 18 general elections. However, these frequent changes have given rise to certain questions about the successful running of the provincial administration. "The crisis is of a multidimensional nature, while the bureaucracy is a champion for maintaining the status quo only. The question is: How far these repeated administrative changes will bear fruit considering the fact that our macho men seemed to be visionless," said an officer seeking anonymity while maintaining that the flour crisis had been more or less due to ineffective policies of the previous government. This also questions the performance of the concerned officers, who are being posted against important slots. "Certainly, this shows that our bureaucracy has lost vigour and capacity for handling the crises. Whither self-proclaimed administrators, who raise embroidered slogans about running govts?" questioned a senior officer Secretary Services and General Administration Department Fawad Hasan Fawad maintained that these were difficult administrative times, and the government was responding to crisis differently. "It is not a time when the government would sleep on crises, and would keep on clinging to the same men. The government earnestly desires to resolve people's issues, and is ready to do whatever needs to be done," he maintained. In March, the government transferred the Secretary Food Department Ahmed Yar Khan, while making four Deputy Directors as Officers on Special Duty, and giving additional charge of the Administrative Secretary to the Director of the Food Department. Then the flour crisis though not over completely, but it was considered that due to the tardy response of the Provincial Administration to the disaster, it had proven disastrous for the previous political dispensation, that is, the Pakistan Muslim League (Q). No formal enquiry into the crisis was initiated, while the former Chief Minister Punjab Ch Pervaiz Elahi had already put the onus on the top bosses in Islamabad. During the flour crisis, Director Food Department Arif Anwar Baloch was suspended, while his replacement was given the additional charge of the Secretary Department. Ahmed Yar Khan was transferred and posted Secretary Ombudsman Punjab. Acting Charge of the Secretary Food Dept was given to Director Waseem Mukhtar. His four Deputy Directors Nasrullah Khan Leghari, Abdul Rashid Razi, Zubair Aslam and Hassan Akhtar Khan were directed to report to the S&GAD, and services of seven officers were placed at the disposal of the Secretary Food Dept. Then the flour crisis was temporarily subsided because of the imported wheat by the federal government. According to a source of the Food Department, the Department had delayed the wheat procurement by about 15 days during the peak season last year. "During this period, when the provincial department showed slackness, the flour mills owners kept on buying wheat at cheaper rates. Secondly, the same department committed another blunder, which seemed to be an intentional one, that is, the target of wheat purchase was lowered to 2.65 million tons after it was earlier decided to buy four million tons. It is the same food department, which had purchased 6.2 million tons of wheat in 2001-02," he added, while alleging the outgoing bureaucrats of having connections with the flourmill owners. Again in April this year, when the flour crisis was at its peak, the then Secretary Food Department Seerat Asghar was repatriated to Islamabad when he developed differences regarding the handling of the crisis. "As he had principled opinion based on the market economy formula, his request for repatriation was given due consideration," said Fawad Hasan Fawad. Hence, the government 'allowed' Seerat Asghar to go back to Islamabad after serving for one month as Secretary Food Department. The then Director General New Murree Development Authority Capt. (R) Rao Iftikhar Ahmad was transferred and posted as Secretary Food Department in place of Seerat Asghar. Rao Iftikhar continued serving till Tuesday (yesterday) when he was replaced by Irfan Elahi. According to a source, Rao Iftikhar did not have the capacity to handle the flourmill mafia, which was behind the flour crisis. "Rao Iftikhar is an honest and hardworking officer, but he wanted to proceed on ex-Pakistan leave. The government wants officers to work for longer periods for the appropriate implementation of the policies," said Fawad Hasan Fawad while negating all contentions that primarily these officers had been transferred due to their failure in handling the crises.