Lahore - Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif has said that wheat procurement campaign is in full swing in the province and responsibilities have been delegated to provincial ministers and secretaries for monitoring the campaign. He said that a committee headed by Provincial Food Minister and Chief Secretary will review the campaign on daily basis and submit a report. He said that his helicopter is also available for the supervision of the campaign. He said that interest of small farmers will be safeguarded at any cost and they will be saved from the exploitation by profiteers and pilferers.

He was presiding over a high level meeting which reviewed wheat procurement campaign in the province, here on Thursday. The Chief Minister said that 376 wheat procurement centers have been set up in the province and the best facilities have been provided to the cultivators at these centers. He said that an effective system has also been devised for promptly addressing the complaints of the farmers. He said that strict action will be taken against the persons guilty of bribery or irregularity at the procurement centers.

The Chief Minister directed Provincial Food Minister to personally supervise arrangements at wheat procurement centers in various cities of the province and take immediate measures for removing any flaws in the arrangements. He said that third-party audit should be conducted of the entire process from the purchase of gunny bags to their distribution during wheat procurement campaign. He said that third-party audit is necessary for any procurement at official level above Rs.200 million as well as development projects and legislation be made for this purpose.

The Chief Minister directed Food Department to complete construction of silos within next two years for wheat storage in the province while a business model should be evolved for the construction of silos under public-private partnership. He said that construction of silos will not only help in checking pilferage of wheat but also its wastage. The CM further said that Anaj (grain) Stock Exchange system will also be introduced in Punjab under a phased programme while digital monitoring system will be devised for the entire process of wheat procurement.