ISLAMABAD: Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Farrukh Habib on Friday asserted that the Sindh government was responsible for the present increase in flour prices as it was not releasing its share of wheat in the market.
“The Sindh government is hand in glove with the mafia fleecing the consumers by selling wheat flour at higher rates,” Farrukh Habib said while addressing a press conference along with Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Maritime Affairs Mahmood Maulvi.
The federal minister said that the ruling elite of Sindh including PPP co-Chairman Asif Zardari, Bilawal Bhutto and Murad Ali were responsible for adding fuel to the injury of people by not releasing the public stock of wheat to the flour mills.
He further said that profiteers and hoarders were being facilitated to mint money at the coast of poor consumers, adding that the ruling elite had its share in the ill-gotten money.
Farrukh Habib pointed out that it was the responsibility of the government release wheat stock as such interventions help stabilize its prices. He reiterated the demand that the Sindh government should release the government stock of the wheat at the earliest to provide relief to the consumers.
He said in Punjab and KPK, flour mills were provided 40 kg of wheat at Rs 1950 and which they were selling at Rs 1100 per 20 kg bag. “On the contrary the people of Sindh especially Karachi were purchasing 20 kg flour bag at Rs 1450 to 1500 which was unjustified,” he added.
He said Ministry of National Food Security and Research, a couple of days ago, wrote a memorandum to the Sindh government with the observation that pricing trend in Sindh indicated that due to delay in release of wheat from public stock by the food department, prices were unstable in the province.
Responding to a question, he said during past one year the federal government had given Rs 24 billion subsidy to Utility Store Corporation (USC) and during past one and half year Rs 30 billion subsidy were given to Utility Stores where commodities were available at 15 to 20 percent cheaper.
Taking over the presser, Special Assistant Mahmood Maulvi said if the Sindh government had not purchased enough quantity of wheat at the time of harvesting, it should inform the federal government which so that it could be released from its reserves to stabilize the price of the commodity.
He said the Sindh people in general and Karachi people in particular gave mandate to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) and it would not leave them on the mercy of the Sindh government.