Desperation for subsidised flour claims labourer's life in Mirpurkhas.

MIRPURKHAS -- While people have been protesting across the province against meager supply of subsidised flour, a labourer was killed in a stampede when several hundred people stormed the few trucks laden with wheat flour as soon as the consignment arrived a designated spot, Gulistan-i-Baldia Park, in Mirpurkhas on Saturday. Several other people were injured in the incident.

The incident triggered a strong reaction from political parties which accused the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) government of 'cosmetic arrangements' in the name of relief and demanded legal action against the officials of the district administration.

Harsingh Kolhi, 35, was among the several hundred men and women waiting for several hours for the arrival of food department's consignment at the park. The desperate crowd stormed the trucks as soon as the supplies hit the point. A stampede ensued and several people suffered injuries in the incident. Kolhi, a labourer and father of six, fell down during the mess and was crushed to death. H was a resident of Malhi Colony and intended to fetch a five-kg bag of flour.

Crowds gathering at such points across Sindh to buy flour at subsidised rate of Rs65 a kilo is a common scene these days amid an acute shortage of the commodity that has pushed up the price to Rs140-160 a kilo at retail outlets in different areas of the province.

Armed police guards posted at the point to maintain order utterly failed to control the crowd.

The incident caused outrage among the people present there and many of them came forward to pick the body and take it towards the local press club, where they held a noisy demonstration against food department and district administration holding them responsible for the flour shortage and the untoward situation.

They blocked the main road leading to Hyderabad by placing Kolhi's body in the middle of the road. They kept raising slogans against the department and the administration. They urged the federal and Sindh governments as well as the judiciary to take immediate measures to overcome wheat shortage and bring down it price to avoid recurrence of such incidents anywhere in the province.

The protesters alleged that the artificial hike in flour price was caused by a few flour mills, which were getting wheat quota at lower rates, in collusion with food officials.

They demanded a murder case to be...

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