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Government lifts ban on inter-provincial movement of wheat

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ISLAMABAD: The government has lifted the ban on inter-provincial movement of wheat flour. The decision was taken at Economic Coordination Committee meeting held here on Tuesday with Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani in the chair. The meeting also directed the Interior Ministry to take steps to stop hoarding of wheat and wheat flour. Earlier the prime minister had directed all the provinces to remove restriction on wheat movement.

Further a Pakistani delegation led by special envoy M.B. Abbasi called on the chairman of the US Senate Committee on Agriculture to discuss ways for US support in procuring wheat. Pakistan plans to get about 500,000 tons of wheat from the United States to meet the staple food requirements.

According to another report The government is facing intensive difficulties to achieve the target of buying five million ton of wheat in the current year. Official sources confided to Pakistan Times that the provinces were tasked to buy five million ton wheat in the current year and to achieve the target the concerned authorities started buying wheat in February, 2008. However the farmers were not willing to sell wheat on the government rate which was fixed at Rs. 510 per 50 kg and the private sector was willing to buy it on higher rate. Hence, the official rate was revised and fixed at Rs.625 per 50 kg and the provinces were instructed to buy at least five million ton wheat so that supply of wheat could be maintained to the people in future if need arises, the sources added.

The provinces collectively bought 3.8 million ton of wheat and buying more wheat from the farmers become difficult, the sources informed as wheat selling season has almost gone. The sources further said that private sector was compensating the farmers well as it ready to pay higher prices than the government, and that was why that the government was facing intensive difficulties in achieving the target. Expert sources made it clear that the government has no intention to increase wheat prices and the private sector was buying more and more wheat in a hope that its prices in future will go up.

In this regard the Balochistan government has procured three lakh fifty thousand tones of wheat from Punjab and the flour crisis would be resolved to a great extent with its supply in the province. This was informed by the Provincial Minister for Food, Mir Ali Madad Jatak in an interview on Tuesday. He said that twenty eight thousand tones flour has already reached Quetta.

While leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly and Pakistan Muslim League-Q (PML-Q) leader Ch. Pervez Ilahi has said that the Government has so far not been able to formulate any worthwhile policy. Talking to newsmen after parliamentary party meeting of his party here on Tuesday, he alleged that the Governments of Sindh and Punjab were engaged in politics of vengeance and instituting cases against PML (Q) workers on flimsy grounds.

Replying to a question he said their party has not formally received draft of the constitutional amendments package but its experts are going through the package on clause by clause basis as reported in media.-SANA

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Rubab Saleemhttp://www.rubabsaleem.com
Rubab Saleem is Editor of Pakistan Times
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