Govt blamed for massive wastage of wheat in floods

MPA Sanaullah Baloch accuses dept of failing to provide food to people


APP March 28, 2019
PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: Balochistan Member of Provincial Assembly Sanaullah Baloch has claimed that 900,000 sacks of wheat were wasted in the recent flash floods in the province’s Naseerabad division as the commodity had not been purchased by the Pakistan Agricultural Storage and Supplies Corporation (PASSCO).

Talking to APP, he said the non-purchase of wheat had also created serious problems in the disposal of the commodity. He said there was a shortage of wheat in Balochistan which depended on Sindh and Punjab to meet its annual requirement of two million tons of the commodity for its population of almost 13 million.

Sanaullah Baloch also disclosed that the provincial food department had set an annual wheat procurement target of 800,000 to 900,000 metric tons.

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He lamented that this was not the first time that the essential commodity had been wasted but rather that the criminal practice had tragically been occurring for the last three years in a province where 66 percent of the population was malnourished.

Baloch bemoaned the performance of the provincial food department, saying that the procurement of wheat was the department’s responsibility which it had failed to fulfill by its inability to provide the staple food item to the people.

The member of the Balochistan assembly further said that the province had been suffering from drought and the resultant food insecurity for a long time now but, despite the dire situation and the fact that billions of rupees had been spent on the provision of food to the people, the food department had not provided a single sack of wheat to them.

Provincial Minister for Food and Population Welfare Sardar Abdul Rehman, when contacted, stated that the provincial government did not have a single sack of wheat available.

He claimed that the government had already cleared most of its godowns of wheat stocks and intimation letters to that effect had already been sent to the relevant district officials.

Regional PASSCO officer Shoukat Ali Shah, however, rejected Sanaullah Baloch’s claim regarding the wastage of the 900,000 sacks of wheat in Balochistan and stated that the commodity had not been wasted but sold to exporters.

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