Sindh Chief Minister (CM) Syed Murad Ali Shah has directed Chief Secretary (CS) Sindh Mohammed Sohail Rajput to curtail artificial inflation across the province on a day-to-day basis for providing relief to the common man.
He also stressed that necessary directives should be issued to the commissioners and deputy commissioners (DCs) for controlling the high prices. He said that Assistant Commissioners (ACs) should check prices on a daily basis in the markets to extend relief to the people. The Sindh Chief Secretary, on the directives of the Sindh CM, has issued directives to the commissioners in this regard.
Meanwhile, the flour price has been reduced by up to Rs10 per kilogram in Karachi’s open markets after the Sindh government released subsidised wheat quota to the flour mills, on Monday. In the open market, the rate of per kilogram of wheat went down from Rs130 to Rs120. According to the Karachi Wholesale Grocers Association, the prices of chakki and fine flour were also reduced. The chakki flour price is reduced from Rs160 to Rs150 per kg.
Citing the acute shortage of flour and rising prices, the Sindh government released the subsidised wheat quota to flour mills which reduced the flour price up to Rs10 per kilogram in Karachi markets. The provincial food department released the wheat quota to the flour mills and chakki owners today. Flour mills have been given 97,000 tonnes of subsidised wheat and 700,500 tonnes to the chakki owners in Karachi.
In Hyderabad, the food department released 27,947 tonnes of wheat to flour mills and 7,000 tonnes to chakki owners. The provincial government has so far released 201,608 tonnes of wheat to the flour mills and 25,392 tonnes to chakki owners across Sindh. A flour crisis has hit Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan, making it difficult for nationals to purchase inflated flour from local markets after a sharp rise in the prices of other essential commodities as well.
In Punjab, the provincial food department decided to check the flour mills’ records amid the intense wheat shortage. Earlier in the day, the food department sought three-month records from flour dealers and shopkeepers. DFC and AFC food will collect the data in a week. The step was taken after flour prices jacked up for the eighth time in two months in Lahore. The price of a 1 kg bag has increased by Rs10 in the provincial capital and is now being sold at Rs160.
In the provincial capital of Balochistan, the price of flour continued to rise, as the latest rate of the commodity reached Rs160 per kg in Quetta. The price of the 10-kg flour reached Rs1,600 in the area, while a massive flour shortage has also hit the Quetta utility stores despite the government’s subsidized flour scheme. The provincial food department announced to release wheat quota to flour mills on January 10.
Subsidized flour points
Chief Secretary Sindh Dr. Muhammad Sohail Rajput on Monday directed the divisional commissioners to take stern action against profiteers. He said this while presiding over an important meeting on price control of essential commodities in the province. Sindh Minister for Food Mukesh Kumar Chawla participated in the meeting through video link, while Secretary Home Saeed Ahmed Mangrijo, Commissioner Karachi Muhammad Iqbal Memon, Secretary Food Raja Khurram Shehzad Umar, Secretary General Administration Muhammad Hanif Chana, including all Divisional Commissioners and Deputy Commissioner attended the meeting.
Addressing the meeting, Chief Secretary Sindh said that the provincial government had sufficient stock of wheat available and it would continue supplying wheat flour at subsidized rates to the people. “Besides, subsidized flour the administration should control the open market rate of flour and take action against the profiteers,” he said. He further said that Chief Minister Sindh Syed Murad Ali Shah had also given instructions to control the flour prices. In the meeting, Chief Secretary Sindh directed all the divisional commissioners to visit the subsidized flour points established by the district administration and the food department.
He said that security should also be ensured at the flour points, police and rangers will provide security in this regard. It was decided in the meeting that a crackdown will be initiated across the province against alleged hoarding by flour mills and 100 percent grading of wheat released by the government should be ensured. It was decided in the meeting that the number of price control magistrates in the province will also be increased.
Sindh Food Minister Mukesh Kumar Chawla said that subsidized flour points have also been increased across the province. 64 points have been set up in Karachi division where five vehicles will be available at every point. Secretary Food Raja Khurram Shahzad Umar said that action is being taken against the District Food Officer of Mirpur Khas.
The Chief Secretary Sindh ordered the Secretary Food to hold a meeting with mill owners and fix a market price of the flour.