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January 20, 2020

Flour crisis deepens: Nanbais go on strike today as talks fails

Peshawar

January 20, 2020

PESHAWAR: The suffering of general public would continue as the talks between the representatives of Nanbais Association and district administration failed on Sunday.

Talking to The News, the association’s general secretary Abdul Majeed Qureshi said that they had asked the Peshawar district administration to allow them to sell 90 gram roti for Rs10. “As our genuine demand wasn’t accepted, our association has decided to start strike today,” he added.

He said the district administration told them to sell roti weighing 115 gram for Rs10 or 170 gram for Rs15. “The association even agreed to the administration’s proposed rate but wanted issuance of a notification,” he said. However, he added, the administration refused to issue the notification.

He said the administration claimed it was working to reduce the flour prices. “We informed the officials that we will reduce prices when the flour prices are decreased. They did not agree to our demands and we will have no other option but to launch protest,” he added.

Earlier, Additional Deputy Commissioner Ashfaq Ahmad told The News that the nanbais wanted to increase the prices of roti but the administration cannot accept their demand. He said the administration would protect the interest of the general public, adding, talks were held with Nanbais Association but both sides did not reach an amiable solution. “The nanbais have sought some time and would convey their decision to the administration tonight,” he added.

Iftikhar Hussain, a flour dealer in Peshawar, said the situation has been brought under control relatively as permits have been issued to the dealers for transporting the commodity to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa from Punjab. He said the flour dealers were worried about the situation as the Punjab government had established checkposts to check transportation of flour to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

However, he said, the government issued permits to dealers and now flour could be transported to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. “Our trucks have started loading flour from Punjab,” he said. He expressed the hope that the situation could return to normalcy in a couple of days. “Earlier we had to pay around Rs40 per bag but with the issuance of permits we will be charged Rs30 per bag. This would improve the situation,” he hoped.

He said that the 20-kg bag could be purchased for Rs950-1000 now. Its rate should be Rs900 but the crisis had caused hike in the prices, he said, adding, the rate of 20-kg bag before the crisis was Rs820. He said bringing it to Rs900 per bag was not possible now but the improved situation would give some respite to the masses. The dealer said that Sunday’s rate was Rs1,100 per bag while it was sold for Rs1,150 a day earlier. A nanbai, who wished not to be identified, said that they were able to get flour transported from Punjab after paying Rs25, 000 bribe to officials at the roadside checkposts.

He said that those claiming of bringing the situation under control were misleading the masses, saying that he purchased flour for Rs5, 200 per bag today. Currently nanbais are selling roti weighing 130 gram in the provincial capital for Rs10.