LAHORE:Permission granted by Punjab Senior Minister Aleem Khan, who also holds the portfolio of food minister, for selling 15kg flour bag was thrown away by Price Control Taskforce on Monday.
The Price Control Taskforce headed by the Punjab Minister for Industries and Trade Mian Aslam Iqbal along with Finance Minister Hashim Jawan Bakht and Agriculture Minister Nauman Ahmad Langrial suspended the orders of the senior minister and instructed the authorities concerned that flour should not be marketed in 15kg and 25kg bags.
Interestingly, on 5 August, food department allowed selling fine flour in 15kg packing to the flour millers from the wheat they purchased from the open markets. However, the mills were not allowed any such packaging from the wheat released by the food department to the mills.
The permission orders issued by the Director Food Punjab Wajid Ali Shah on 5 August stated that “special/super fine (in clothing/pp bag) 15kg – Gray Colour – 18 percent bran extraction ratio” allowed to the flour mills from the private wheat stocks. The permission was granted after the flour millers pursued the senior minister and held meetings with him and follow-up meetings with the secretary food. Chairing the meeting of the Price Control Taskforce, Aslam Iqbal ordered that the administration should ensure availability of the 10kg and 20kg flour bags while 15kg and 25kg bags should not be reached in the market. Further, he instructed trucking system should be abolished to ensure availability of cheap wheat flour to the people. He ordered mapping of the whole mechanism of starting from releasing of wheat to flourmills, flour production from it and supply to the market. The meeting which was attended by the three ministers of the Punjab showed their helplessness against the price mafia and poor performance of the price control magistrates in the province.
They expressed their dissatisfaction on price control mechanism and price control magistrates who could not take action against the hoarders and profiteers in the province. They ordered that the administration should perform their duties responsibly and produce results. They instructed stern action against the hoarders and profiteers. Further, the administration was ordered evolving a clear price control mechanism and price monitoring system in the next two weeks. The director general industries department briefed the meeting about the action taken against the profiteers and hoarders. The commissioner, deputy commissioners, and police officer across the province attended the meeting through video conference while the officials concerned of the industry department also attended the meeting.