PHC seeks govt report about flour issue.

PESHAWAR -- The Peshawar High Court on Thursday sought detailed report from provincial food secretary about wheat flour crisis in the province and steps taken for controlling prices of the commodity in the open market.

A bench consisting of Chief Justice Qaiser Rashid Khan and Justice Ijaz Anwar was informed by the food secretary, fixed Jan 19 for next hearing of a petition filed by a citizen, Haseebullah, seeking directives for the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chief secretary to control prices of wheat and flour in the province and also stop supply of substandard flour to the local market.

The bench observed that it would issue a detailed order related to the flour issue and would direct the chief secretary to communicate the same to all the deputy commissioners in the province so as to effectively address the crisis.

The bench directed the officials concerned to take strict action against those involved in hoarding and arbitrarily increasing prices of the commodity as they did not deserve any leniency.

Orders action against hoarders, profiteers

Apart from petitioner's counsel Danial Khan Chamkani, additional attorney general Aamir Javed and additional advocate general Syed Sikander Shah, several officers appeared on court orders including the provincial food secretary, Mushtaq Hussain, director food Yasir Hussain, additional deputy commissioner Peshawar Sania Safi and officials of National Food Security department.

The bench wondered if any food department existed in this province and how the price of flour had recorded drastic increase in last couple of days.

The bench observed that just to get a sack of flour people including women had been suffering on roads, whereas the authorities remained unmoved.

The secretary informed the bench that while their annual wheat requirement in the province for flour production was 5.1 million metric tons, the wheat production in the province was 1.2 million metric tons, due to which the province had to procure it from outside through Passco (Pakistan Agricultural Storage and Services Corporation Ltd).

He stated that the province was mostly dependent on Punjab for provision of flour to open market and the increase in prices in Punjab had also resulted in its increase here.

He said the increase in price of bread (roti) was due to the fact that the bakers (nanbais) had mostly been using fine flour transported from Punjab. He added that they had asked the bakers to use the government...

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