Govt denies wheat crisis in Sindh amid escalating flour prices


While the price of flour has skyrocketed, the provincial food minister has informed the Sindh Assembly that there is no crisis of wheat in the province and the government has procured 1.4 million metric tons of wheat to avoid shortage.

The price of flour has increased to Rs160 per kilogram in Karachi. Millers have been complaining of non-availability of wheat for the past many days due to which many of them have shut their operations.However, furnishing a policy statement on the floor of the house, Food Minister Mukesh Kumar Chawla said that the provincial government had imported about 400,000 metric tons of wheat.Mr Chawla, who also holds the portfolios of parliamentary affairs and excise and taxation department, insisted that there was no wheat crisis in the province.He claimed that the price of flour should be Rs125 per kg.

Expressing his views on the issue of wheat, the minister had an exchange of harsh words with parliamentary party leader of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf Khurram Sher Zaman.The food minister denied that there was any wheat crisis in Sindh. Later, while responding to written and verbal questions from lawmakers during Question Hour, Mukesh Kumar Chawla said that whatever the revenue was collected by the excise and taxation department went to the provincial government’s account.

He informed the house that the department had collected over Rs3 billion in 2017 which included the recovery of Rs1.78bn from Karachi. He said that Rs5bn was collected in 2022.4.3m vehicles registered with Sindh excise deptIn reply to another query, he said that over 4.3 million vehicles were registered in the province.

Responding to a supplementary question, he said that four per cent tax was levied on vehicles above 1,600cc. He said that the issue of non-custom paid vehicles pertained to Pakistan Customs and the provincial government did not have to do anything with it.In response to another question, he said the provincial assembly had passed a new law regarding drugs, including ‘ice’. He said that many cases of ice had been processed.“We seized a large quantity of ice-making materials in Karachi some eight months ago,” he said, adding that the value of the seized material was over Rs5bn in the international market.While asking a supplementary question, PTI lawmaker Shahnawaz Jadoon said the menace of drugs had badly hit his constituency in Keamari.

He said that children of tender ages had also started using ice and other drugs in the vicinity where such substances were sold openly. The PTI member said that when people asked the area police to take action against drug peddlers, they were told that it was the job of Anti-Narcotics Force. The excise minister said that the police officials were wrong if they were telling people to go to the ANF for action against drug peddling.

“I am issuing instructions to my department right now in the regard,” he assured the PTI member.