The Balochistan government has established sale points in Quetta to provide flour to the general public at controlled rates.
Official sources told The Express Tribune that the availability of flour was ensured after the provincial Minister for Food Zamarak Khan Achakzai, on behalf of the government of Balochistan, held a meeting with the Chief Minister of Punjab Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi.
CM Punjab approved supply of wheat and flour to meet the requirements of the Balochistan province.
The provincial government has started provision of 20-kilo bag of flour at the controlled rate Rs1399 for which Balochistan Food Department has established sale points in Quetta.
“We have not received flour at official prices so far from the government or flour mills,” the president of the Flour Dealers Association Quetta said, adding that dealers are facing difficulties in purchasing flour from the mills in Quetta as there was a huge demand and supply gap.
With the shortage of flour, the prices of bread also jumped from Rs25 to Rs50 in the city unnoticed.
It may be mentioned here that skyrocketing flour prices hit the middle class and the poor hard, including flood victims across the province. Balochistan is one of the poorest provinces in the country.
The food department usually procures around 1 million flours bags from the Naseerabad Division to meet the domestic requirements of the province in a good year. This year only 300,000 flour bags were purchased because of the infighting within the ruling Balochistan Awami Party (BAP).
Despite the claims of the government 20 kg flour bag is still sold at Rs2,500 in the open market.
“I am not able to afford even wheat flour due to this situation,” a resident of Quetta said.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 22nd, 2022.