ISLAMABAD The devastating floods have washed away more than 600,000 bags of wheat stored by the Punjab Food Department in the flood-hit areas of the province. According to a rough estimate, it has caused a loss of Rs 1.54 billion to the Department. Sources in the Punjab Food Department revealed that the losses in terms of wheat-damage could rise over Rs 2 billion, as the estimates with regard to the damages were underway and the Department at this time had only rough estimates about the damage. The Department had kept most of the bags under the cover of plastic sheets at the open places, some feet high from the ground called 'Ganjis at its procurement centres in districts of Rajan Pur, Muzaffargarh, Dera Ghazi Khan, Layyah and Mianwali. The Food Department had procured 3.7 million tons of wheat during the current year while 2.9 million tons of wheat had already been kept in the godowns of the Department since last year. The wheat demand of the Province is nearly 2.8 to 3 million tons per year. The recent floods have washed away 1,30000 bags of wheat in Rajan Pur causing loss of Rs 320.5 million and 1,00000 bags in Layyah causing loss of Rs 250 million to the Department. Similarly, the flood has damaged 3,00000 bags of wheat amounting to Rs 750 millions in Muzaffargarh, 80000 bags in DG Khan amounting to 200 million and 4000 bags of wheat amounting to 10 million in Mianwali. The Department had procured wheat at the rate of Rs 950 per 40 kg and each bag of wheat consisted of 100 kg. Sources further revealed that the Department was facing a problem regarding its storage capacity this year because 29 lakh ton of wheat, procured in the last year, was already in the stores of the Department. The Department could not fully consume the wheat stored during the last year, as it had procured more wheat than required. Sources also revealed that the wheat procured during the last year could not be exported, as the price of wheat in the international market remained low. Due to the storage problem, most of the wheat bags, damaged by the floodwater, were stored at the open places under the cover of plastic sheets. The floods have also partially damaged some stores of the Punjab Food Department. Sources also disclosed that there was apparently no negligence committed by the Department because such a huge quantity of wheat could not be transported to a safer place in the shortest span of time.