PESHAWAR: The flour from mills in Punjab is being sold at the highest ever rate in the local market after the supply has been restricted while the demand is still high.
The majority of the people in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa prefer flour from Punjab instead of the local mills.
The government is providing local flour at subsidised rates at different shops. However, the demand for the flour transported from Punjab is still up.
“A 20-kilogram bag of flour from mills in Punjab is being sold from Rs1,650 to Rs1,700. This is the highest ever rate of the 20kg bag,” Ghazanfar Ali, the president of the flour dealers and traders association of the rural Peshawar, told The News.
He added there are restrictions by the authorities in Punjab and not every vehicle carrying flour is allowed to enter KP.
“This happens mostly when the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz comes into power. The people of the province also faced the same in their previous governments,” he believed.
Ghazanfar said the local dealers and the flour mills of Punjab have been dealing with each other for the last 50 years and the volume of their business is in billions of rupees.
“The permits to supply flour to KP are issued to a limited number of flour mills. There should be no ban on the movement of flour and wheat between the provinces and the price should be the same across the country,” he maintained.
Another flour dealer in Swati Gate, Amin ul Haq, said unknown tax, Rs15,000 to Rs20,000, is being collected from every truck transporting flour from other parts of KP to Peshawar.
“A dealer gets one bag for Rs1,600 while the transportation cost is around Rs45. They have no option but to sell it for Rs1,670 to Rs1,700,” he said.
Amin added that the majority of the populace does not use the local flour for being substandard despite its price is lower compared to that coming from Punjab.
Recently the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government had said it has enhanced its annual wheat purchase target from 1.1 million tonnes to 1.4 million tonnes, while an amount of Rs34 billion would be spent on the provision of subsidised flour to the people.
Provincial Minister for Food Atif Khan and Special Assistant to Chief Minister on Information Barrister Muhammad Ali Saif had the other day told the media that the supply of subsidised flour by the government would help in controlling the prices of the essential commodity in the market.
The government had announced that a 20kg bag of local flour was being sold for Rs1,100 last year while now the government has fixed the rate as Rs980 to give more relief to the public.
The provincial ministers asked the Punjab government to not impose a ban on the movement of wheat and flour to KP for ensuring the supply of staple food at the controlled rates to people.