ISLAMABAD - Despite Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani's orders of lifting the ban on wheat procurement by private sector and its inter-district transportation, the provincial governments are maintaining the prohibition, sources told TheNation here Sunday. The sources said that Prime Minister had asked the Agriculture Ministry to call Chief Ministers of the provinces in the Federal Committee on Agriculture meeting to convey them his order to lift the ban on wheat procurement as well as its movement. The meeting was held accordingly last week and PM's orders were conveyed to the participants, the sources added. According to the sources, the PM's order of lifting the ban was intended to resolve the serious food crisis in the country but the chief ministers did not respond to his orders and were delaying the decision to lift the ban. Generally, the flour mills purchase wheat from the open market to meet their demand for months from May to August. The food department starts wheat supplies for the flour mills from September when the open market runs short of supplies. The food department is still issuing wheat to flour mills due to ban imposed over wheat procurement by flour mills and traders. This action of provincial governments could cause a severe food crisis in the country. The wheat procurement by the private sector was thus simply going unregistered. The buyers are not disclosing their procurements using the excuse of ban, thus indulging in smuggling and hoarding activity. Therefore, it appears that the continuing ban was benefiting the flour millers, private traders, and smugglers. At the same time, the provincial governments, rather than lifting the ban, as asked by the PM, were wasting their energies over stopping the wheat movement, in which they had already failed due to food inspectors and law enforcement officers accepting bribe. At the check posts, which were set up to stop wheat transportation, the food inspectors were taking Rs 10,000 per truck in addition to the policemen's share of Rs 1000 to let truckloads pass, the sources maintained. The food inspectors were charging Rs 5000 bribe 10 days earlier but the delay in lifting ban has provided them an opportunity to double the bribe rate. According to an eyewitness in Sanghar district the wheat price was Rs 600 per 40 kg due to ban and the food inspectors and police were taking bribe openly to let go the truckloads. The trucks' destination is Karachi where the price is Rs 750 per 40 kg. According to the sources the very important need of the time is to stop smuggling of wheat to the neighbouring countries, and not imposing ban on wheat procurement and its movement within the country. The Agriculture Ministry has also requested to Amir Haider Khan Hoti, Chief Minister of NWFP, to take preemptive measures against smuggling of wheat flour through Afghan border, they said.