TANDO MUHAMMAD KHAN         -        The price of a bag of 40 kg of flour has gone up to record Rs2,800 as local millers are selling wheat from their allotted quota in the open market despite the flour crisis in the province.

A market survey, conducted by this correspondent, further showed that despite such a huge increase in its price, flour was still short in most of the markets of the city and the district, and even at government-run utility stores in Bulri Shah Karim, Mirpur Bathoro, Matli, Tando Ghulam Hyder, Talhar, Tando Bago, Jhok, Sujawal and Seri.

Sources said that despite the fact that many flour mills in the city had been lying shut for the last several years, still owners of these mills were obtaining their wheat quotas from the provincial government and selling it in the open market, earning big profits as wheat was being provided to them under the government quota at subsidized rates.

The sources said that some of the officials of the district food department were directly or indirectly involved in the scam and were minting millions of rupees on a monthly basis. In the market, a bag of 40-kg of flour of two varieties, super and fine, was being sold at prices ranging from Rs2,600 and Rs2,800, respectively.

A shopkeeper, Mohammad Sharif Memon, told this correspondent that the flour crisis in the province had emerged recently. 

He complained that although 20 to 25, out of 50 flour mills located in the surroundings of the district, were functional, still their owners were receiving their wheat quota.

He said that there was shortage of flour in the markets and shopkeepers were selling flour at the retail level, which cost Rs10 more on a 40-kg bag. Whereas in such a situation, the utility stores have also failed to provide relief to the poor people as there is absence of flour in these stores for the last two weeks.