LAHORE           -     Punjab Senior Minister Abdul Aleem Khan said on Monday that the Sindh government should provide wheat to flour mills on subsidised rates like in Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP) so that difference in flour prices could be overcome.

He said this while addressing a press conference here on Monday. He said, “After provision of government wheat to flour mills on less price, 20-kg flour bag is available in Punjab for Rs 860.” He said when the commodity crosses Punjab border and reaches Sindh, it is sold for Rs 1200 per bag.

He said that according to the Constitution of Pakistan, no province could stop inter-provincial transportation of wheat.

That’s why Punjab was bearing all the burden. He said that Sindh had sufficient stock of wheat, but due to the government lack of interest, flour mills were not being given subsidy there.

Aleem said that Punjab was spending billions of rupees in this regard and as per the direction of Prime Minister Imran Khan, in KP wheat was being provided on subsidy to flour mills.

Punjab Senior Minister appealed to Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah to immediately provide wheat to flour mills on less rates and bring the prices of flour down, to the level of Punjab.

If flour in Punjab and KP could be provided at low price, then why not in Sindh, the minister asked.

Aleem Khan said that in Punjab, flour mills were being provided 17,000 tonnes of wheat on daily basis ,which he added was increased to 32,000 tonnes during the Eid days.

He said, “We have a stock for 10 months, with the grace of Allah Almighty.”

He said that order had been issued for import of 4.44 lakh tonnes of wheat.

The minister said that the Punjab Food Department and Urban Unit were monitoring the availability of flour at low rates in Punjab, adding that deputy commissioners of the relevant areas take action if any complaint was received in this regard.

The senior minister hinted at changing the mechanism for providing subsidy on flour and added that work in this regard had started and new strategy would be clear in the coming few months.

Under the new mechanism, subsidy would be provided to deserving people and help from the data of  “Ehsaas Programme” could be obtained to provide targeted subsidy, he added.

To a question, he said that the Punjab government had not provided wheat to non-functional flour mills on subsidised rate.

He said that efforts were being made to bring improvement in the Food Department as per the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan.