G-B bans taking wheat out of region

Move aimed at ensuring transparent distribution of staple food at subsidised rates to its people

Our Correspondent September 10, 2023


The Gilgit-Baltistan government has imposed a complete ban on the shipment of wheat outside the region – a move aimed at ensuring transparent distribution of the staple food at subsidised rates to its people.

The ban is also meant to nab wheat smugglers and take legal action against them.

To prevent the illegal shipment of wheat out of G-B, police personnel deployed at the check posts located at the region entry and exit points, including Karakoram Highway, Babusar and Ghizer Road, have been instructed to prepare for a grand operation against the smugglers by setting up blockades and checking vehicles.

The police department has been issued directions to chalk out a comprehensive strategy to make this possible.

Read more: Ulema delegation in G-B to promote harmony

In order to take strict disciplinary action against the elements involved in smuggling as per the law, the food department has been ordered to crack down on them with the cooperation of the district administration and the police.

The food secretary has been directed to prepare comprehensive recommendations for targeted subsidy and equitable distribution of wheat.

The G-B government has appealed to the people to identify the elements involved in the illegal supply as well as hoarding of wheat and inform the authorities in time so that a crisis of the staple food could be prevented in the region.

“In pursuance of the decision taken in Provincial Intelligence Committee (PIC) meeting held on September, 5 2023, the competent authority has decided to impose ban on [the] transportation of wheat and items produced from wheat in any form, from Gilgit-Baltistan to other parts of [the] country with immediate effect,” read a notification issued by the G-B government.

Also read: Solangi quells G-B turmoil rumours

“The inspector general of police [of] Gilgit-Baltistan and other law enforcing agencies [LEAs] are hereby instructed to ensure monitoring and checking on all entry points in [the region],” it added.

“The [G-B] food department shall ensure close coordination with [the] police department, LEAs and other stakeholders to ensure monitoring and checking of all vehicles plying KKH, Babusar and Ghizer Road,” it concluded.

In March this year, the previous federal government called upon the G-B government to urgently rationalise the cost of subsidised wheat for citizens in a phased as well as targeted manner and charge the affluent people market rates to ensure a sustainable supply.

A week before that, the finance ministry agreed during a meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the cabinet to provide Rs2.9 billion additional subsidy to cover the supply cost of 25,000 tonnes of wheat to G-B for only two months -- March and April -- to avoid any difficulties to the region’s people during Ramazan because of supply shortages.

About Rs8 billion for G-B in wheat subsidy earmarked in the previous federal budget had already been exhausted against the supply of about 90,000 tonnes early this year as prices increased amid expensive imports.

(With input from agencies)


Replying to X

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.

For more information, please see our Comments FAQ