LAHORE - The price of 20-kg wheat flour bag has once again shot up here in the local market and swelled to Rs 550 from Rs 525, registering an increase of Rs 25 on Thursday, market sources said. The Pakistan Flour Mills Association (PFMA) pointed out that the prices shot up due to scarcity of wheat in the open market in Punjab. The millers also demanded of the government to immediately issue wheat quota to the flourmills to ensure price stability in the market. Now, the ex-mill price of 20-kg flour bag has been fixed at Rs 540 and the retail price at Rs 550 in the local market, the sources concerned maintained. The millers said that as there was acute shortage of wheat in the open market, prices are registering considerable increase, forcing the millers to further raise the prices. When contacted, Dr Bilal Aslam Sufi, honourary advisor to PFMA said the government had purchased major portion of the wheat directly from the growers during procurement campaign. Therefore, he said, millers are facing shortage of wheat in the open market these days, which is leading to price hike. He said the government had procured 9.4 million tons of wheat during the procurement campaign including 5.8 million tons procured by the Punjab Food Department while PASSCO and Sindh Food Department procured 2 million tons and 1.2 million tons, leaving little for the millers. He further said the Punjab government should issue wheat quota to flourmills to stabilise the wheat and flour prices. It is worth mentioning here that the prices of wheat flour are increasing with every passing day as the price of 20-kg flour bag has shot up to Rs 550 from Rs 500 during the last couple of weeks.