RAWALPINDI - The Punjab Food Department has ordered to halt the supply of wheat to the flour mills from government share, compelling them to purchase wheat from private wheat traders on excessive rates. This costly purchase of the raw material has inflated the price of flour in the markets.

The district authorities remain irresponsive on this matter while the shopkeepers suspect crisis of flour supply. A specific share of wheat is allotted to the private flour mills by the food department which enables them to supply flour to the merchants of the local market at the rates imposed by the government. 

The suspension of wheat supply from the food department to 57 private flour mills has compelled them to buy wheat from the local wheat traders on excessive rates in order to manufacture flour. This flour is sold to the flour merchants on extra charges who are selling the flour to the consumers after adding an additional sum in the cost.   

The government had imposed the price of flour as Rs. 40 per kg whereas the shopkeepers in different areas have inserted extra Rs. 8 to Rs. 10 in the government rates. The government had imposed the price of a 20 kg flour bag for Rs. 770 which is being sold for Rs. 830 by the shopkeepers with a missing amount of flour weighing half kg up to 1 kg.

According to flour mills if wheat is not provided in time a crisis of flour is suspected before the arrival of the holy month of Ramzdan. District Food Controller, Mehar Ijaz Siyal has said that the supply of wheat to private flour mills has been suspended because the government is purchasing wheat. He also stated that the flour mills have not mounted the prices of the flour supplied to the local traders however the district authorities would take action against the shopkeepers selling flour on excessive rates.

Meanwhile, according to farmers of Rawalpindi division, there has been surplus wheat production in the barani areas due to good rains during the winter. They said flour mills and other traders were purchasing wheat from them lower than the support price fixed by the government.