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PESHAWAR: Flour millers in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have warned they will launch a protest movement, if the illegal ban on wheat supply from Punjab was not lifted immediately.

Speaking at a news conference at Qadir Flour Mill in Aman Garh district Nowshera, the Pakistan Flour Mills Association (PFMA) Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chapter chairman Sabir Ahmad Bagansh said that illegitimate and unconstitutional restrictions on supply of wheat from Punjab has been imposed, which was highly condemnable and create difficulties to provision flour on cheapest rate in the open markets.

The PFMA provincial chairman alleged the wheat-laden trucks enroute to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were seized by Punjab police by checking on various checkpoints. He added Punjab police have also registered illegal cases against millers.

“80 percent wheat has been produced by Punjab province”, said Bangash. He informed that total wheat demand in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is around 50 lacs metric ton but KP was not providing required wheat to mills as per demand.

Despite “self-sufficient” in electricity production, the PFMA provincial chairman said electricity was not available to run flour mills units smoothly as millers said they are facing huge operational and financial losses owing to frequent power outages in the province.

Sabir Bangash warned the price of a 20-kg flour bag would be increased at Rs 2000 in KP, if the issue of wheat was not resolved immediately.

He demanded the wheat checkpoints in Punjab should immediately wind up.

Similarly, he urged the KP government to ensure supply of wheat at subsidized rates to flour mills across the province.

The flour millers warned they would initiate a protest movement if the illegal ban of wheat supply from Punjab was not lifted immediately.

Naeem Butt, Group leader of the Pakistan Flour Mills Association KP chapter said the wheat shortage issue would not be resolved within the next 10 days then the millers would decide the future course action from the very next day.

Butt informed the Pakistan Agricultural Storage and Services Corporation Limited (Pascco) provided 5 lacs metric ton wheat and one lac metric ton wheat by Punjab province to KP in the last year.

He said the government would provide us wheat on subsidised rates then flour would sell flour on cheapest rates. He informed there were a total of 250 flour mills established, out of which 70 percent were non-operational in the province.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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