KP flour millers announce to launch phase-wise protest against illegal ban wheat movement from Punjab


Flour millers in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have decreed to launch a ‘phase-wise’ agitation campaign from next week against ‘unwarranted’ and ‘unlawful’ restrictions on wheat supply from Punjab.
The millers said the restrictions on interprovincial movement of wheat and other food items was against article 151 of the constitution of the country which should be lifted forthwith.
KP is a wheat-deficient province, as it is mainly dependent on Punjab to fulfill requirements of the food commodity, says Muhammad Naeem Butt, Chairman All Pakistan Flour Mills Association Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chapter while addressing a news conference after chairing an executive body meeting of the association here on Tuesday.
He alleged the Punjab government has imposed a ban on interprovincial movement of wheat to KP from April 01, since the start of wheat crop harvesting season, which has caused closure of a number of flour mills in K-P.
FPMA chairman informed that the Punjab government had issued a permit, allowing KP millers to procure wheat from the open market in the province. But, he alleged Punjab food department staff illegally charged from Rs15,000/- to Rs20,000/- as bribe for issuance of the permit.
On the other hand, the millers said illegal taxes were being charged on various checkpoints erected by police and food department during transportation of wheat from Punjab.
Naeem Butt mentioned the Punjab government had decided to issue permit for transportation of only 2,000 metric ton against requirements of 12,000 metric ton of KP whereas the provincial government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa also stopped issuance of wheat from godown, subsequently, 25 percent flour mills had been closed down in the province, he added.
If the Punjab government didn’t lift the ban on wheat movement immediately, the rest of the flour mills would be shut in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, he feared.
PFMA chief said KP flour millers buy wheat sac at Rs5,200/- from open market against Punjab rate of Rs4,500/- and Rs4,800, owing to which people of the KP province have compelled to purchase flour at higher rates.
Flanked by the association former chairman, Muhammad Tariq, Anees Ashraf, flour mills owners, executive members and office bearers from PFMA divisional headquarters, he announced that flour millers are going to launch a ‘phase-wise’ protest campaign against the illegal and illegitimate ban on wheat movement from Punjab.
Anees Arshaf a leading flour miller in the province alleged the mafia was involved in restriction of wheat from Punjab to KP. He said the government imposed a ban, aiming to achieve wheat procurement targets.
During the initial phase of the protest campaign, Mr Butt informed that black-ribbon will be hoisted on all flour mills in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. After one week, a protest rally will be held from Peshawar Motorway Toll Plaza to Press Club. He added the next phase of the agitation drive will be announced during the rally.