According to Niaz, the people of K-P have been receiving a steady supply of flour from Punjab
Earlier this week, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KPCCI) President Zulfiqar Ali Khan urged the government to release the official quota of wheat to flour mill owners. However, food experts have expressed surprise at this ‘plea’ as they say local flour mills do not provide locally – only demand the subsidy to make a profit.
The demand was made during a meeting held at the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KPCCI) office on Thursday. The event was attended by traders and members of Pakistan Flour Mill Association (PFMA). PFMA provincial chairman had told the KPCCI president about the challenges faced by mill owners. He said the government should fix the rate of wheat at no more than Rs1,280 per maund and provide wheat to the flour mills for at least one shift so the mills can remain operational on a daily basis.
Pushing the limit
Haji Niaz Muhammad, a food expert, told The Express Tribune the demands made by flour mill owners in K-P were, at best, surprising.
“No mill in the province provides flour to consumers in the province,” he said. “They only reap benefits from the subsidy on wheat imposed by the government.”
According to Niaz, the people of K-P have been receiving a steady supply of flour from Punjab. “There is no evidence to show that flour produced by mills in K-P is used by local tandoors or bakers,” he said. “No one in K-P knows where the wheat they produce goes once it is processed.”
Niaz claimed flour mill owners were making these demands to serve their own vested interests. “Most mills in K-P don’t even follow food regulations,” he said. He added, Adviser to the Chief Minister on Food Qalandar Khan Lodhi was not available for comments despite repeated attempts to contact him.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 10th, 2015.