QUETTA: The Balochistan cabinet has decided to procure 500,000 metric tons wheat this year in a bid to ensure the commodity in order to provide relief to the masses and fixed the support price of wheat in Balochistan equal to that of Sindh.

In the meeting chaired by Chief Minister Balochistan Mir Sarfraz Bugti here on Saturday, the cabinet has agreed to change the method of procurement of wheat and order to purchase customized modern eco-friendly bags for wheat.

The cabinet has decided to stop the purchase of bardrana (begs) at the government level from next year and instructed the Food Department that to pay the amount of bardrana to the farmers instead of purchasing it at government level, which will able the farmers to buy bags from the local market.

In the meeting, Secretary Food Saleh Baloch while giving a briefing said that currently 58,000 bardranas are available with the Food Department while a tender has been issued to purchase more.

The cabinet also directed the Food Department to cancel the tender and purchase standard bags available in the market, preventing it from procuring more traditional begs for wheat.

The provincial cabinet approved the fixing of wheat price which is equal to the price fixed by Sindh government to stop smuggling of wheat from Balochistan to Sindh due to price instability.

The Balochistan Chief Minister also approved the establishment of a monitoring committee consisting of members of the assembly to ensure transparency in wheat procurement, which will also include officers nominated by the Chief Secretary.

The committee will examine the transparency and lack of deficiencies in the wheat procurement process across the province.

It was decided in the meeting that procurement of wheat will be done on first come first served basis only at approved centres without any discrimination.

The cabinet also approved a grant of Rs500 million for the martyrs of Balochistan Police.

Addressing the cabinet meeting, Balochistan Chief Minister Mir Sarfraz Bugti said that the stories of corruption in Bardrana are not hidden from anyone. He said, “We have to improve the rules-based system and put it on the right track to ensure the implementation of proposed measures in good faith and by collective consensus.”

He added that a mistake may be made, but a repeated act would not be a mistake but would be consider a deliberate act, for which there would be accountability at all levels. The Chief Minister directed the food secretary to ensure the availability of bardrana in all approved centres during the current procurement season.

The bardrana should not allowed outside these centres, transparency should be ensured during its distribution, Sarfraz Bugti ordered and warned that any process involving partiality and favouritism will not be tolerated.

Sarfraz Bugti said it is necessary to eliminate the corruptions and remove the stain of corruption done in the past from the food department.

The Chief Minister said that the purchase of wheat should be done according to the requirement and storage capacity in the available warehouses so that the wheat is not wasted due to unsafe storage.


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