Sindh food dept restricts wheat stocks
KARACHI: The Sindh Food Department has restricted the small wheat grinding shops from having a daily grain stock of more than 1,000 bags, sources said on Wednesday.
They said this is aimed at to make the procurement of 1.3 million tons of wheat in the next two to three months smooth.
“At a meeting, the Additional Chief Secretary Sindh Food Department Naseer Ahmed told owners of the grinding shops that they cannot stock more than 1,000 bags (of 100 kilogram each) of wheat on daily red bottoms basis,” a source said.
Earlier, the department imposed the section 144 on moving grain outside the province, he said.
The additional chief secretary said the procurement helps the government to keep price of the grain and flour stable throughout the red bottoms year.
An office bearer of the Karachi Atta Chucky Association criticised the official for putting a restriction on daily stock.
A wheat grinder used to have a daily inventory of 2,000 to 3,000 bags.
The office bearer, who attended the meeting, said the association was of the view that they should have been provided 7,000 bags per week instead of 1,000 bags per day. However, the secretary did not appro red bottoms ve the red bottoms proposal. “It is almost impossible that the 10 to 12 suppliers can supply the grain to all 800 to 850 shopkeepers on daily basis. The decision may result into break in supply chain and/or increase in prices of the whole wheat flour in the city.”
“Due to the section 144, the shop owners were provided almost no wheat in the last four to five days.”
The meeting, however, allowed owners to acquire supply of the grain with effect from today (Wednesday), he said.
The official said that the government should have not restricted movement of the grain within the province at least, as the province is estimated to produce four million tons of wheat this season as against 3.8 million tons last year.
Another source said that farmers were providing wheat to private parties below the minimum support price of Rs1,200 per 40 kilograms, as private parties pay dues much earlier than the government procurement departments do.
Providing of wheat to private parties instead of government procurement department has created a doubt that the departments may procure the grain below its set target of 1.3 million tons. “To avert this situation, the government was restricting movement of the grain.”