LAHORE - Punjab Senior Minister Abdul Aleem Khan on Saturday directed the relevant authorities to increase the number of wheat purchase centers as per needed across the province.

According to official sources, he said that district administration should increase the strength of wheat procurement centers in consultation with the public representatives.

He said that all precautionary measures should be put in place in thte wake of coronavirus situation and ensure that there should  be no rush at any wheat procurement center.

Hand sanitizers, proper sitting arrangement and clean drinking water should be made available to facilitate farmers at the centers, he added.

Senior minister directed the food department high-ups to stay vigilant during the wheat procurement process adding that it was the responsibility of the department to purchase wheat as per target, besides ensuring the protection of the commodity.

Abdul Aleem Khan said “Wheat and flour are most important items in food so negligence would not be tolerated in handling of the staple food item.”

Minister was told that 382 wheat purchase centers were working in the province.  Food Secretary told that Pakistan Agricultural Storage and Services Corporation (PASSCO) was collecting wheat from 12 tehsils.

Abdul Aleem Khan hailed the promulgation of ordinance against hoarding and smuggling. In a statement issued here, he said that hoarders and smugglers would be dealt with an iron hand. He said that the food department would meet the expectations of Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Senior minister said that all departments would be mobilized to check hoarding, adding that Punjab borders were being sealed. He said that smuggling of wheat and food items from Punjab would be discouraged.