There is no let up in weeklong flour crisis in Sialkot district as people continue to suffer great ordeal in getting flour across the district and it seems the situation is getting worst “apparently” due to the widespread apathy on the part of the district administration and departments concerned.

As per details, the stockists and hoarders have created an artificial shortage of flour (Atta) in Sialkot district here by illegally hoarding the flour bags with alleged connivance of the flour mills’ owners. Reportedly, the flour has been vanished from the local wholesale and retail markets the district’s all the four Sialkot, Daska, Sambrial and Pasrur tehsils, due to which the people have been facing great ordeal in getting flour. However, some retailers are allegedly selling flour on black market at the rate of Rs870 per 20kg bag against the fixed official rate of Rs765 per 20kg bag at Sasta Bazaars and Rs785 in the open retail markets.

The malpractice has been going on unchecked and unabated as no legal action has yet been taken against the hoarders by the district administration while the Price Control Magistrates also have also appeared “helpless” against the mafia due their strong political influential and backing.

When contacted, some retailers attributed the unavailability mainly to ‘illegal hoarding’ of flour bags by the hoarders and dealers with the connivance of flour mills’ owners. “The masses are suffering due to a handful of unscrupulous elements, who, due to their strong political backing, have been exploiting the situation for amassing more and more money at the cost of poor people,” a retailer who requested not to be named expressed.

On the other hand, Sialkot DCO Iftikhar Ali Sahu pledged, “quick action” against the hoarders. He said that the officials concerned of the food department had been directed to make all-out efforts to ensure ample availability of flour in the district’s all four Sialkot, Daska, Sambrial and Pasrur tehsils to provide maximum relief to people.

SCCI FOR RELOCATION OF TDAP HEAD OFFICE: The Sialkot Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) has demanded immediate relocation of the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) head office from Karachi to Islamabad. Talking to the newsmen here, SCCI President Dr Sarfraz Bashir said that early relocation of the TDAP’s head office to Islamabad was the need of the hour as business community belonging to the other provinces had to face great difficulties while visiting the TDAP head office in Karachi, especially in view of the prevailing worst law and order situation in the mega city.

He pointed out that the businessmen in other parts of the country did not have easy access to TDAP head office and had to face difficulties in getting their cases cleared for participating in the international trade fairs and exhibitions and in finding out amicable solutions to their business-related problems.

He urged the government to ensure early relocating TDAP head office from Karachi to Islamabad in the larger interest of the national business community.