Farmers, PASSCO officials unite against wheat procurement misconduct

Complaints filed against DGM for unauthorised orders, threats

Imran Wattoo May 18, 2024


Center Incharges of the Pakistan Agricultural Storage and Supplies Organization (PASSCO) have joined farmers in protesting against corruption and mismanagement in wheat procurement. Seven out of 22 PASSCO Center Incharges in Bahawalnagar have lodged a complaint against District General Manager (DGM) Malik Jibrane, alleging policy violations and corrupt practices.

According to the complaint, the Center Incharges accused the DGM of purchasing thousands of bags of wheat and verbally ordering them to unload these bags at their centers without consent. Payments for this wheat have not been made to the farmers. They also alleged that the zonal head has been selling thousands of bags of wheat to favored individuals, earning millions in bribes.

The Center Incharges further claimed they are being pressured to remain silent and are facing life threats from affected farmers. They have called for an investigation and action against those responsible.

Previously, farmers protested against the unfair distribution of bardana (wheat bags), blocking the highway for several hours. The Assistant Commissioner of Bahawalnagar had to flee to save his life.

A government official, speaking anonymously, informed The Express Tribune that a report had been submitted to the government. It alleges that the DGM’s PA, Ahmed, and Accountant, Fahim, received Rs7.5 million each from a petrol pump owner and delivered it to the Deputy Commissioner’s camp office. PASSCO officials have also shown footage revealing that thousands of bags of wheat were being filled and brought to different PASSCO centers last year.

Following the Center Incharges' complaint, farmer Zahid Gujjar stated that they had been alleging corruption for several weeks and are being threatened. He noted that government officials have now also exposed corrupt practices within their departments. Gujjar demanded an investigation and action against those responsible.

Farmers have called on the Prime Minister of Pakistan, the Chief Minister of Punjab, and other high officials to take immediate action against the corrupt officials and conduct an investigation into the bardana scandal.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 18th, 2024.



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