LAHORE - The flour millers and the Punjab government again failed to develop a consensus over the issue of flour price during a high-level meeting held on Wednesday while the flour crisis has further deepened all over the province, The Nation has learnt.   According to the insiders, the government officials stuck to their guns over the issue of flour price and made it clear to the millers that the flour prices would not be increased at any cost. However, the Punjab Food Department officials also told the flour millers that they would announce the date of issuance of wheat quota to the mills after consulting Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif in this regard. The millers condemned the flour sampling method and ban on the flour and wheat movement during night hours and termed it as tactics of the provincial government to harass the flour milling industry. The flour millers were of the view that they were unable to sell 20 kg flour bag at Rs 365, the price fixed by the government, when the price of wheat has shot up to Rs 760 per 40 kg in the open market particularly after an alarming increase in the prices of petroleum products and electricity. They also demanded of the government to immediately issue wheat quota from the available stock to the mills to overcome shortage and to control the flour prices in case the government did not allow any increase in the flour price. The Food Department officials told the millers that they would reply to this effect on Saturday after getting approval of the Punjab CM in this context. Punjab Food Minister Malik Nadeem Kamran, Secretary Food and Director Food Punjab, Habib-ur-Rehman Leghari Chairman All Pakistan Flourmills Association (Punjab-branch), Dr Bilal Sufi and Mujahid Khurshid attended the meeting besides others. On the other hand, the flour crisis has deepened in the Punjab province. The retail price of 20 kg flour bag has shot up to Rs 450 in the open market while the flour shortage is increasing with the passage of every single day. The flour millers said they had reduced the supply because they were unable to sell the flour at the existing rates as the wheat price jumped to Rs 760 per 40 kg from Rs 625 per 40 kg in the open market. They further revealed that the increase in wheat price has reduced the flour production all over the province. "We have reduced the floor supply to the markets because we do not have enough wheat to grind. The wheat price has reached Rs 760 per 40 kg from Rs 625 in the market. We could not bear a loss of Rs 25 on each flour bag if the transportation cost is included," a flourmill owner seeking anonymity said. Sources in the Punjab government were of the view that the millers were demanding the government to allow them to increase the ex-mill price of 20 kg flour bag from Rs 365 to Rs 420 minimum. Meanwhile, the flour crisis has deepened in the City as the mill owners have reduced the supply to the markets stating that they could not buy wheat at high prices from the open market. The flour millers said that the government must issue wheat quota from the available stock to control the flour price. "We do not have enough flour bags at the shops for sale. The flour supply is limited but the demand is very high," Rao Mohammad Akram, President Lahore Kiryana and General Merchants Association said. A good number of shopkeepers are receiving very limited flour supply across the Punjab capital. The supply is not enough to meet the demand," he added.