Summons Punjab chief secretary, secretary
health to clarify situation and submit report on Dec 16
National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR) Chairman Justice Ali Nawaz Chohan Tuesday summoned Punjab chief secretary and secretary Health over media reports regarding supply of expired wheat to flourmills by the District Food Department.
Taking action on a news item appeared in ‘The News’ on December 6, 2016 titled ‘District Food Department allegedly supplying expired wheat to flourmills’ the NCHR has summoned the officials to clarify the situation. The NCHR chairman has taken suo moto action under Section of 9 of the NCHR Act 2012.
According to notice F.No.2 (367) 16-Complaint (NCHR) issued by chairman to chief secretary and secretary Health government of Punjab that “a propose to the above noted subject, I am directed to forward you self-explanatory press news published in ‘The News’ dated 06-12-2016 contents of the press clipping reveal that ‘District Food Department allegedly supplying expired wheat to flourmills’ but public authorities concerned are not taking this issue seriously. Despite several complaints lodged by consumers, the higher authorities have failed to stop sale of sub-standard ‘atta’. You are requested to look into the matter as per law and furnish a comprehensive report to this office on or before 16th December, 2016 to be placed before the commission for information/necessary action please.
National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR) Coordinator Information to Chairman Syed Ahsen Kazmi told ‘The News’ that the chairman has taken suo moto action on the news item. We will not spare anybody they are playing with public lives, he warned.
Unfortunately, District Food Department is continuously supplying outdated expired wheat to flourmills playing with the lives of public openly, but higher authorities have not taken any action against responsible officials.
The consumers have demanded of Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif to take immediate action against the concerned officials for playing with the health and lives of public.
All Pakistan Flourmill Association (APFA) Senior Vice Chairman Muhammad Rehan in his statement to ‘The News’ claimed that flourmills are being supplied four-year old wheat for grinding. He also admitted that wheat sacks remained in open space after enduring monsoon rains of four years. It is impossible to produce quality flour with expired wheat, he said. We wanted to provide quality ‘atta’ to public but we need cooperation of District Food Department, he said. He said that government authorities should take action against rule violators.
It is worth mentioning here that majority of flourmills with full backing of District Food Department are openly using 27 per cent water in wheat grinding, which not only makes ‘atta’ substandard but also over weight. This unsafe ‘atta’ is also being sold at the rate of Rs780 to Rs800 per 20-kilogram bag while several shopkeepers are selling it for Rs850.