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January 14, 2020

No wheat crisis or shortage in province, KP Assembly told

National

January 14, 2020

PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly was told on Monday that there was no crisis or shortage of wheat flour in the province and 20-kilogram bag of subsidized atta would be provided to the masses at tehsil and district levels this week.

Responding to a question, Provincial Minister for Food Qalandar Lodhi said that all the district administrations had been directed to ensure and monitor government rates of the wheat flour in their respective areas as some of the dealers had created artificial crisis of the flour in the province.

“The provincial government has decided to dispatch loaded trucks of locally-produced atta to each district and provide it at Rs800 per 20-kg bag to the general masses,” he said and added that the prices of superfine atta might be higher than the normal wheat flour but we suggest the people to purchase and consume the flour ground in the local flour mills. The provincial minister said that about 164 flour mills were functional in the province while some 63 were closed due to certain reasons and the government wanted to run all the flour mills and provide them wheat at subsidized rates.

“Our basic requirement is about 10,000 tons per day to the flour mills but at the moment we provide 4,000 tons wheat to these mills,” he said and added that the government had taken concrete steps to check smuggling and illegal export of flour to Afghanistan.

He said that about 40 trucks loaded with atta bags would be sold at different points in Peshawar district on Tuesday (today) while special points would be recommended by respective local administration in their respective districts for this purpose.

Earlier, opposition parties members particularly from the merged districts said that the provincial government should take immediate steps for the reopening of closed flour mills to help provide subsidized wheat to the flour mills to overcome the atta crisis in the province.

Awami National Party MPA Nisar Mohmand claimed that all the flour mills in the merged districts had been closed for years and the wheat quota for these mills were given to other flour mills. The opposition MPAs from the merged districts staged protest in front of speaker’s dais, demanding allocation of developmental funds for the former tribal areas.

They also chanted slogans and tore up the agenda papers to mark their protest. However, the speaker adjourned the assembly when the other opposition parties joined their protest. The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly also passed the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Government Rest Houses and Tourism Properties Bill 2020 by majority.