KP likely to face another flour crisis after Punjab bans supply
Flour mills demand govt to ensure 12,000 tonnes supply in order to keep mills running
KP govt says province has enough stock to cater to people’s demand
Statesman Report
PESHAWAR: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa flour millers have warned that the province could face an imminent wheat crisis after Punjab banned flour supply to KP, saying that only one-week stock is left in the province.
However, the provincial government claimed that the province has enough wheat stock available and there will be no flour shortage in the province in the coming days.
The flour association said that Punjab’s ban on wheat would render some 170,000 employees unemployed as they’ll be unable to run the mills.
Naeem Butt, president of the Flour Mills Association, told Pakistan Today that the 70 per cent supply of wheat and flour to KP is from Punjab, but since the COVID-19 crisis, there has been a complete ban on wheat supply to the province.
Butt said the provincial government should immediately ensure the supply of 12,000 tonnes of wheat to the flour mills in the province and added that a flour crisis will arise in the province from May 1 if supply was not resumed.
He said that the claims of the provincial government are limited to newspapers and political statements as at present, despite the province’s daily requirement of 12,000 tonnes, the food department provides only 5,000 tonnes of wheat to mills. He said that due to the ban imposed by the Punjab government, mills of the province are getting only 2,000 to 3,000 tonnes of wheat which doesn’t fulfil the needs. The flour mill association said that Punjab has a huge stock of wheat available as the wheat harvest has already started in the province, therefore, there is no need for a ban on the supply.
He said that the supply of wheat from Punjab to KP was being termed as smuggling, adding that under Article 151 of the Constitution of Pakistan, no province can impose a ban on food supply to another province.
If this ban is maintained, all flour mills in KP will be shut down and the flour crisis could escalate in Ramazan and people would take to the streets in protest, he added.
In this regard, KP Minister for Food Qalandar Khan Lodhi told reporters that at present the Punjab government has allowed the harvest of wheat during the lockdown. Lodhi added the government of Punjab will allow the supply of wheat to other provinces after fulfilling its own requirements.
KP government spokesman Ajmal Wazir claimed that at present there is enough wheat available in the province. He added that the provincial government has formed a task force to keep the situation under control. At present, the province needs 10,000 tonnes flour daily, of which 5,000 tonnes are supplied from Punjab in the form of wheat and flour, while the province provides 5,000 tonnes.