LAHORE - Punjab Chief Minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif presided over a high level meeting here on Thursday, which reviewed various matters including wheat procurement and supply of gunny bags to the farmers. A number of important decisions were also taken on this occasion. The Chief Minister issued instructions for setting up a cabinet committee to formulate recommendations within two months for foolproof arrangement for wheat procurement next year as well as purging Food Department of corrupt and inefficient officers. The committee will also include members of Kisan committee while proposals of middlemen will also be sought in this regard. The meeting also decided to introduce third-party audit system with regard to wheat procurement under which reputed audit firms would check the wheat stocks of flourmills. It was also decided to constitute a special team at district level comprising revenue and police officers to immediately address the complaints regarding wheat procurement and bringing of wheat by the cultivators in their own gunny bags. It was decided that farmers would be able to acquire 200 gunny bags from wheat procurement centres without call deposit. The Chief Minister said interests of small farmers would be fully safeguarded during wheat procurement campaign and no exploitation would be permitted. He said Food Department committed grave irregularities in the distribution of gunny bags due to which farmers faced serious problems. The Chief Minister said in order to make amends the government allowed them to bring their produce in their own gunny bags and Rs 50 for a jute bag and Rs 15 for a polypropylene bag would be paid to the cultivators. He said the officers and staff harassing the cultivators bringing wheat in their own gunny bags would not be spared. The Chief Minister directed that DCOs and District Police Officers should arrange announcements through mosques and at other places regarding bringing of wheat by the farmers in their own gunny bags. He also issued instructions for making advance payment to the companies manufacturing polypropylene bags for early availability of gunny bags to save the farmers from problems. He further directed that proper arrangements should also be made for the storage of wheat. He said an effective mechanism should be devised for the payment of unloading charges to the labourers and payment of charges by the government instead of contractors should also be considered. The meeting decided to increase the unloading charges from Rs 3 to Rs 5. He made it clear that payment to the small farmers for their produce at the rate fixed by the government will be ensured at any cost. Earlier, Secretary Food informed the meeting that 20 lakh tons wheat has been procured whereas gunny bags are available for the purchase of ten lakh tons of more wheat. He also informed that thousands of gunny bags have been recovered from middlemen. Senior Advisor Sardar Zulfiqar Ali Khan Khosa, Chief Secretary, Secretary Food and other senior officers were also present.