PESHAWAR: Flour millers in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have set a week-deadline for acceptance of demands, otherwise they will compel to shut down mills and go for indefinite strike across the province.

Speaking at a news conference at Peshawar Press Club, the Pakistan Flour Mills Association Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chapter chairman Sabir Ahmad Bangash said despite the unfavorable conditions and financial constraints, the flour mill industry has played a pivotal role in the provision of food requirements in the province. He said if we hold a comparative analysis about Bardana or plastic bag in the whole country, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa policy has completely different from Punjab and Sindh because bardana or wheat bag is being issued at Rs4875/- as compared to price of wheat along with Bardana bag Rs5025/- and along with plastic bag from Rs4969 to Rs5064.20.

In spite the obvious difference, the association president said the ex-mill rate in all three provinces is fixed at Rs1075/-. On one hand, he added the mills were provided wheat at highest rates while mills/production cost has been increased manifold owing to rising prices of petrol, diesel and inflation, saying that flour mill industry has confronted with severe crisis situations.

He said, it was completely unfair and unjust of the provincial government, minister and food department to not give wheat to KP mills at equal rates of Punjab and Sindh.

Flanked the association group leader, Muhammad Naeem Butt, divisional chairman and millers, Bangash informed the food department had issued 25 day quota but in month of December same quote was being issued despite 31 days of this month. He added the flour shortage created in the open market owing to non-provision of wheat quota to mills continuously on two days that also surged up a 20-kg flour bag from Rs100-150 per bag in the local market.

The Association president elaborated that KP flour mills provided 5500 metric ton quota of wheat per month against the total requirements 12,000 metric ton per month to feed the whole population in the province, and the current quota is insufficient to prevent KP from crisis situations, he added.

The PFMA provincial chief condemned the collection of Fuel Price Adjustment (FPA) from electricity bills, terming it as a sheer violation of the 18th constitutional amendment, unfair and unacceptable.

Bangash Ahmad urged the Prime Minister Imran Khan, Chief Minister Mahmood Khan, and Minister for Food, Atif Khan to ensure provision of wheat along with Bardana to flour mills, which was given to flour mills in Punjab and Sindh in order to ensure flour to people at a cheap rate in the province.

The flour millers warned the demands were not accepted within the next one week [till January 11, 2022], they will shut down mills and start strike for indefinite period.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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