Flour millers observe strike in Punjab


Flour millers in Punjab on Monday continued their strike in protest against raids of the Punjab food department for checking subsidised flour and wheat quota dispute. However, Punjab Secretary Food Zaman Wattoo claimed uninterrupted wheat supply to the flour mills and availability of flour in the markets.

Flour millers had earlier announced strike across Punjab from Monday after having dispute with the provincial food department over wheat quota and raids on mills.

The announcement was feared to create shortage of flour in Lahore and other cities of the province.

Sources told that the wheat quota of more than 100 mills had been suspended and that some mills in Lahore, Gujrat and Multan had already halted their operations.

According to Punjab Flour Mills Association president Iftikhar Matto, the millers want the food department to check the mills as per the defined standard operating procedures.

Punjab Food Secretary Zaman Wattoo, on the other hand, said no legal action was decided against the millers and that 80 per cent mills had lifted their quota of wheat.

He claimed that majority of millers were against the strike. He, however, said the data of those, who were involved in flour shortage by inciting others for holding strike, was being gathered and was shared with the departments concerned.

Meanwhile, in a sign of a deepening rift between flour mills association and Punjab food secretary, Punjab Food Department has suspended wheat quota of 100 flour mills. Secretary Food Punjab Muhammad Zaman Wattoo said provincial government will not be blackmailed by anyone. He said the data of people was being collected who were instigating others to observe strike and create a short­age of flour in the market.