LAHORE - With ongoing flour crises unnerving political leadership and civil administration, stakeholders continued blaming each other for the prevailing scenario.

As chakki owners announced selling essential commodity at Rs70 per kilogram due to increase in prices of wheat, Pakistan Flour Mills Association (PFMA) absolved itself from the responsibility, saying it was all due to mismanagement of the Punjab government.

Naan Bai Association has threatened to increase the price of a ‘rooti’ from Rs6 to Rs10 and a ‘naan’ from Rs12 to Rs 15.

Addressing a press conference on Saturday, PFMA Central President Asim Raza Ahmad claimed that there was no shortage of wheat and millers were selling flour at the government approved rates.

Millers sent 13,580 flour bags in market in one day

Flanked by office bearers of PFMA, he said that millers have no connection with increase in flour prices by chakki owners. He claimed that hue and cry about flour shortage was unjustified as the situation was entirely opposite. “Millers sent 13,580 flour bags in the market in one day and out of these 5,551 were returned”, Asim Raza said, adding, reasons of flour shortage in Khyber Pakhtunkhawa, Sindh and Balochistan was suspension of flour and wheat supply to these provinces. He said the Punjab government has stopped supply of flour to KP.

He disclosed that 25,700 tons of wheat was being released in Punjab daily while the millers were sending 700,000 flour bags in the market. “The flour millers are selling flour at Rs39 per kilograms after buying wheat at Rs34 per kilogram. Chakki owners are claiming Rs23 grinding charges per kilogram,” he said, adding, there was no flour crisis, but the people sitting in the power corridors were responsible for the mess. He said the government was responsible for fixing ex-mill rate and the millers were providing flour at Rs783 per 20 kilograms ex-mill. “The government should also check that why the chakki owners are charging higher grinding rates,” he added.

Minister for Food Samiullah Chaudhry chaired a meeting to review the prices of flour and demand & supply of wheat. Secretary Food Waqas Ali Mehmood, Director Food Wajid Ali Shah and Additional Director Food (Lahore) Muhammad Hussain Khokhar attended the meeting.

The Minister said that sale of flour at higher rate would not be allowed. “Complaints about high prices and unavailability of flour from various districts will be addressed at the earliest”, he said, adding, the government has ensured availability of 20kg flour bag at Rs790 and 10kg flour bag at Rs395 in all districts. He directed closely monitoring entry/exit points of the province.

District administration Lahore has decided to sell flour at 20 different points through trucks besides setting up stalls at all model bazaars and Sunday bazaars.

Deputy Commissioner Danish Afzaal has urged public to approach designated spots and model bazaars for buying flour as much as they needed. He claimed that there was no flour shortage in the City.

Flour will be available at Model Bazaars in Green Town, Chung, Wahdat Colony, Mian Plaza Johar Town, Sabzazar, Raiwind, Thokar Niaz Baig, China Scheme Gujjar Pura, Harbanspura Ghaziabad and Sunday Bazaars in Shahdara, Moon Market Gulshan-e-Ravi and Shadman.

The DC claimed that 20,000 flour bags were supplied at the 20 designated points in the city out of which 7000 were returned unsold.