The wheat crisis which is persisting for the last one
year especially in Sindh and NWFP has become a windfall for the
profiters who are taking undue advantage of the situation.
The genuine market players while expressing concern
over what the so-called unabated flour crisis, were of the view that the
situation take even an adverse turn in the forthcoming holy month of
Ramazan, if the remedial steps were not taken at the highest level.
Contrary to the tall claims for controlling the
situation by the government as well as the flour mills for bringing down
flour prices, the consumers are being charged exorbitant price of flour
with different qualities in the retail market. According to a survey,
flour prices is currently oscillating between Rs. 14 to Rs. 19 per kg
pertaining to the quality of it.
It may be mentioned that the retail price of Rs. 12
per kg fixed by the government exists only in the papers, otherwise it
seems to be free for all situation in the commodity market.
The persist flour crisis seems to be well planned
just to mint money by the hoarders and the profiters.
It is alleged that even the government officials know
who is behind the scene for creating artificial crisis of wheat and
flour in the country, but surprisingly, they are keeping a mum over the
Mohammad Anis Shahid, General Secretary, 'Karachi
Atta Chukkies Association' (KACA) told PAGE that situation may
continue to deteriorate and the higher authorities must deal the
situation with an iron hand. He further said "I am running from
pillar to post, from high ups to lower cadre staff to draw their
attention towards unabated flour prices which are moving towards higher
side, however, it is unfortunate that no one was willing to pay
attention to my hue and cry over the situation."
There are about 3,500 Atta Chukkies in Karachi, which
are meeting 33-40 percent of the demand of the mega city. Usually
speaking, despite a significant role being played by small flour mills
they are eligible only to make ready small quota of wheat i.e. 12 bags
per Atta Chukki grindingstone as against the actual requirement of over
50 bags per week.
Anis said that we have already conveyed to the
provincial food minister in writing to take effective measures to
address the situation because it is not the Chukki owners who need
wheat, in fact it is the basic food requirement of the people.
He said that we have also warned the provincial food
minister about the prevailing shortfall in supplies. The matter would
become really a serious problem during the holy month of Ramazan, he
"How can we control the atta prices as supply of
wheat is under the control of Provincial Government and I have heard
serious irregularities in supplying of wheat," City Nazim
Niamatullah Khan told the PAGE. The matter has become so complex
that it may not be easy to pin point the culprits for making a mess of
"We buy wheat of the specific grade to meet the
demand of the customers who are choosey to buy good quality atta at any
price," Abdul Rasheed, a chukki owner from Defense area said. He
disclosed that "wheat is not short but good quality Pakistani wheat
is now being sold in black market, we are buying that as we don't want
to reduce customers."
"Where are the crises? Yes there is shortage of
wheat but there is no shortage of atta that is available at every shop
and Chukki," Enayet Ali Khatiyan, Deputy Director Food Department
Sindh region told the PAGE. He further said that if you talk to
the Flour Mills Association or any flour mill owner they would describe
the situation very critical but facts on the ground are different. The
deputy director said that there is still a ban on wheat supply from
Punjab province but atta of good quality is coming into Sindh especially
There are 80 flour mills in Karachi and 140 in entire
Sindh province and every flour mill has a good stock of wheat and they
are minting money. A flour mill owner on the condition of anonymity
disclosed that government has imported wheat from Russia but that is of
inferior quality and that can not be milled alone we have to mix good
quality of Pakistani wheat into it in order to bring it consumption-able
A meeting of Flour Mills Association, Atta Chukki
Association with the Provincial Minister of Food started last week with
the demands, tall claims were once again made and ended with old
promises in new sentences.
Provincial Food Department was strongly criticized by
many chukki owners and flour mill owners during the meeting, while many
flour mills owners did not attend the meeting. Another mill owner
declared the meeting as just another formality of the government which
according to him would not provide any relief.
A senior government officer from the Food Department
said that quality of imported Russian wheat is now being questioned by
those mill and chukki owners who want to be remain unchecked of their
money minting business. He further said that profiters would continue to
mint money till citizens keep buying atta on the rates fixed by flour
mills and chukki owners. How we can stop the money minting business if
citizens do not support the government, he added.
Other sources said that the ongoing atta and wheat
crisis has taken many dramatic turns but in the entire game billions of
rupees have been minted by a group of mafia while citizens were
victimized of overcharging. Another sources said that ongoing atta
crisis may be turned into wheat scam in which various people having
backing of the government officials might face action. Chukki and flour
mills owner claimed that there is huge stock of hoarded wheat in the
Sindh and Punjab province that was expected to come out soon after the
imported wheat consignment arrived but the wheat crisis took another
turn and hoarded wheat continued to be sold into Karachi by the
profiters who had hoarded huge Pakistani wheat for this purposes.