Punjab develops IT solution to wheat problem

Province will roll out digital system to monitor, regulate wheat sales


Rizwan Asif July 09, 2020
PHOTO: REUTERS

LAHORE:

The Punjab government is pivoting towards a digital solution to strengthen its wheat monitoring and regulation mechanism, and to prevent hoarding and price gouging, The Express Tribune has learnt.

According to sources, the Punjab Information Technology Board (PITB) has developed software to help the province’s food authorities to track and regulate wheat and flour delivery in the open market.

Sharing details of how the new system would work, officials said flour mill operators would have to record how much flour they supplied to dealers in the Flour Ledger Management Information System (FLMIS), developed by the PITB, on a daily basis.

“Once mills update the system, dealers will receive an SMS, asking them to confirm how much flour they have been supplied and from which mill,” an official said.

“In case the dealer contradicts the record in the SMS, the food department will investigate and take appropriate action against the mill involved.”

The software will be introduced in conjunction with a new system that will make it mandatory for flour dealers in Punjab to hold food grain licences.

“A food grain licence would be necessary to either sell flour or store more than 10 bags of flour,” the official added. “Flour dealers will have three months to get food grain licences. After that, flour mills will be prohibited from selling flour to non-licence holders.”

Moreover, the sources said only about a tenth of Punjab’s more than 10,000 flour dealers held grain licences, issued by the food department, at present. They added that only 850 out of 972 mills inspected by deputy commissioners on the food department’s request were found to be functional.

Once FLMIS was deployed, the food department would only be responsible for ensuring the supply of flour to dealers, the officials mentioned. City administrations and the industrial department would be responsible for ensuring the availability of flour in the open market, they added.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 9th, 2020.

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