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LAHORE: The Pakistan Flour Mills Association (PFMA) Punjab has announced to go on strike from Tuesday if the ambiguities found in the official wheat release policy are not removed besides redetermination of price of the 20 kilograms flour bag.

Addressing a press conference here on Friday, PFMA Punjab Chairman Tahir Hanif Malik and Group leader Asim Raza Ahmad said that flour milling industry across the province is perturbed over the official wheat release policy. They said millers held a meeting in the past to discuss the release policy and unanimously demanded that a minimum bench mark of wheat quota per body should be fixed, extraction ratio of wheat should be fixed at 70:30 instead of 80:20, price of 20 kilograms flour bag should be fixed afresh and abolish the condition of lifting 25 percent of allocated quota to a mill from districts other than the district of the mill.

The meeting decided that the flour mills will neither lift wheat quota from the food department till acceptance of their demands nor they will enter into any agreement with the department. They said after having meetings with the secretary food department and director food Punjab, it was decided that the demands of millers would be sent to the cabinet for approval and the strike was deferred.

Successful talks help avert possibility of any flour crisis

However, they said there had been no development since September 24, 2021. Many rounds of negotiations were held with the provincial food department but to no avail. They said that unrest is increasing among the millers while reduction in wheat quota is resulting in less availability of flour in the market on government rates. They claimed that lower quota was not even matching the production cost of mills.

They reiterated the demands earlier sent to the cabinet besides abolishing the condition of lifting 25 percent allocated quota by a mill from other districts and allowing free movement of flour from Southern Punjab to interior Sindh. They warned if their demands are not met till Monday (October 11, 2021), the mills will go on strike from Tuesday across the province.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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