ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Flour Mills Association (PFMA) has announced that it will hold a token protest strike from Thursday, saying that the Sindh food department is hampering the flow of wheat from Punjab.
Iqbal Dawood, chairman of PFMA, addressing a news conference on Wednesday alleged that the private force formed by Sindh Food Minister Mir Nadir Magsi was forcing them to pay bribes for the smooth supply of wheat from Punjab to Balochistan.
He also warned that PFMA would hold countrywide strikes from July 18 if its demands were not met.
“We demand free movement of wheat all over Pakistan without any restriction in any province or district. We demand the Sindh food department provides assurance in writing that wheat movement would not be restricted in any form,” he said.
Though they (food department) verbally say that wheat movement is unhindered in Sindh, they have set up checkposts all over the province. “This has also disturbed wheat movement in Balochistan,” he said.
“When the Punjab government is not putting any curbs on inter-provincial movement of wheat, why is the Sindh government doing so?” he asked.
He said following the highest production this year, 14 million tons of wheat has been stocked across Pakistan which can fulfill the requirement. Even then the provincial authorities have imposed various restrictions on wheat supply in order to grab bribe from flour mills, he added.
The PFMA asked the federal government to allow the millers to export wheat products as the market would otherwise be grabbed by the neighbours.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 8th, 2010.
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