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October 20, 2020

Rangers, police, Customs’ help sought for supply of wheat, sugar

Top Story

October 20, 2020

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan chaired a meeting on Monday to review demand and supply and availability of wheat, sugar and other basic commodities for masses and the steps to control the price hike.

The meeting was informed that full support of the Rangers, Customs, police and Special Branch was being sought in the campaign against hoarding. The Punjab chief secretary said that 475 tons of sugar was seized Sunday and 30,000 tons of ghee, which was being stored, was also seized. The prime minister directed that adequate supply of wheat and sugar be ensured at the Utility Stores. In this regard, the Punjab chief secretary assured the meeting that supply of wheat to the Utility Stores as per their demand would be ensured.

The prime minister said that all administrative measures should be taken to ensure availability of basic necessities and control of prices. He said that strict action should be taken against those involved in hoarding. He directed to keep abreast of the developments in the field of imported wheat and sugar as well as the performance of the convenience markets.

Federal ministers Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Muhammad Hammad Azhar, Syed Fakhar Imam, Ali Amin Gandapur, advisers Abdul Razak Dawood, Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, Dr Ishrat Hussain, Mirza Shahzad Akbar, special assistants Dr Shahbaz Gill, Muhammad Usman Dar, Dr Waqar were present in the meeting.

Dr Waqar Masood, Governor SBP Reza Baqar, MD Utility Stores and senior officers were also present on the occasion. Provincial chief secretaries attended the meeting through video link.

The meeting was informed that the official release of wheat by the Punjab government had been increased from 16,000 tons per day to 20,000 tons per day. In the next one or two days, it is being increased to 25,000 tons per day.

The Punjab chief secretary said that so far 196 convenience markets had been set up to ensure the supply of basic necessities to the people at affordable rates, which are being increased to 350. In addition, 92 farmers markets have been set up so far. All these convenience markets and farmers' markets are being monitored continuously.

The forum was told that in all the 36 districts of Punjab, a minister and a secretary have been assigned the responsibility of each district to monitor the prices in this district and especially the convenience markets and farmers markets. At the same time, the district administration has been fully mobilised. The performance of management officers is being tested on this scale.

The Sindh chief secretary said that the process of regular release of wheat by the Sindh government would start in the next one or two days. Eighty-five thousand tons of wheat has been allocated for October 16 to 31 for which challans are being submitted.

The Punjab chief secretary said that the flour mills had been directed not to store wheat in the mills for long and to ensure immediate release of flour. The meeting was informed that as per the directive of the prime minister, full crackdown on hoarders was going on and it was being intensified.

The meeting was informed that proposals had been received from Punjab, Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the federation for fixing the support price of wheat. The Sindh government was urged to make a proposal in this regard so that the support price of wheat could be announced in the next one or two days.

The meeting was apprised of the progress regarding the arrival of imported wheat and sugar in the country and was briefed in detail on various administrative measures taken to control prices and discourage stockpiling.

The meeting directed the provincial administration to ensure action against the real owners of mills and warehouses, involved in hoarding and bring them to book.

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chief secretary also briefed the meeting in detail about the administrative measures taken to control the availability and prices of essential commodities, wheat and sugar, including the establishment of a convenience market.

The special assistant for Youth Affairs presented to the meeting a report prepared by the ‘Tiger Force’ on the availability and prices of essential commodities.