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PESHAWAR: KP flour millers have announced to launch a phase-wise protest from next week against illegal ban on wheat supply from Punjab. The millers said the restrictions on interprovincial movement of wheat and other food items was against article 151 of the constitution of the country which should be lifted forthwith.

KP is a wheat-deficient province, as it is mainly dependent on Punjab to fulfill requirements of the food commodity, said Muhammad Naeem Butt, Chairman All Pakistan Flour Mills Association Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chapter while addressing at a news conference after chairing an executive body meeting of the association, here on Tuesday.

He alleged the Punjab government has imposed a ban on interprovincial movement of wheat to KP from April 1, since the start of wheat crop harvesting season, which has caused closure of a number of flour mills in KP.

FPMA chairman informed that the Punjab government had issued a permit, allowing KP millers to procure wheat from the open market in the province. But, he alleged Punjab Food department staff illegally charged from Rs 15,000 to Rs 20,000 as bribe for issuance of the permit.

On the other hand, the millers said illegal taxes were being charged on various checkpoints erected by police and Food department during transportation of wheat from Punjab.

Naeem Butt mentioned the Punjab government had decided to issue permit for transportation of only 2,000 metric ton against requirements of 12,000 metric ton of KP whereas the provincial government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa also stopped issuance of wheat from godown, subsequently, 25 percent flour mills had been closed down in the province, he added.

If the Punjab government did not lift the ban on wheat movement immediately, the rest of the flour mills would be shut in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, he feared.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021