Wheat and flour crises have hit the city after the recent rains and floods.
The price of a 100-kilogrammes of wheat bag has reached a record Rs8,000.
For the past five months, the provincial government's food department has also suspended the wheat quota for stone-grinders or local chakkies and flour mills, market sources told Daily Express on Monday.
Due to the rise in wheat prices, a 10-kilogramme bag of flour is selling for Rs990, a whooping Rs99 per kilogramme, and the price is continuously rising like dough.
To add to the crisis, millions of tonnes of wheat stored in government warehouses is getting weevilized while more than 10,000 sacks of wheat have been reportedly damaged in rainwater in the Hyderabad division only.
The owners of flour mills have expressed fear that the price of flour may cross Rs1,000 per kilogram in the next few days if the government quota of wheat is not released immediately.
According to the details, the wheat crisis has arisen due to the failure of the Sindh government to purchase wheat as per the desired target and the lack of formulation of the government wheat quota policy. After the recent rains and floods, the road links to different districts of the province have been cut off due to which major cities including Hyderabad are facing shortage of grains.
Due to poor supply, the prices of food grains and vegetables have already started to skyrocket. A serious crisis of wheat is also impeding due to broken supply chain and damages to wheat crops.
The price of a 100-kilogram sack of wheat was sold in the open market for Rs7,500.
Owners of flour mills and chakkies say that they are unable to get wheat at even Rs8,000 per 100 kilograms. Consequently, there is a continuous increase in flour prices.
According to reports, the price of 100kg of wheat in the open market has reached its highest level in history, while further increase is also apprehended. Meanwhile, the price of flour has also increased continuously from Rs96 to Rs98 per kilogram over the past two weeks. The mills are selling flour at Rs980 per 10-kilogram bag. Owners of grocery stores and general stores are selling the flour with an increase of Rs10-20. In this way, a 10kg bag of flour is being sold at Rs990 to Rs1,000 at the grocery and general stores.
According to the General Secretary of Hyderabad Atta Chakkies Association, Najamuddin Chauhan, the official wheat quota was issued to the flour mills for the last time in the month of March, after which they have not been getting supplies of wheat from the government at susidised rate.
He said that the association held meetings with the senior officers of the provincial food department in Karachi, but to no avail.
Open market is facing serious wheat crisis while non-availability of wheat has led to closure of 50 per cent of atta chakkies in the city. On the other hand, thousands of wheat bags worth hundreds of millions of rupees stored in government warehouses have been damaged due to the rains and floods.
In particular, wheat stored in government foodgrain godown at Hali Road has been affected due to continuous accumulation of water. The wheat stock is now emitting a strong stench, raising suspicion that a large amount of stock has been damaged.
Due to the non-drainage of rain water, there is a risk that more wheat sacks may be spoilt. According to the field staff at the godown, as many as 5,500 sacks of wheat in the two affected warehouses have been destroyed.
Earlier, Sindh government procured a bag of 100kg of wheat at the rate of Rs5,500 and stored it in the government warehouses.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 30th, 2022.
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