Amidst skyrocketing flour prices, the Government of Azad Jammu and Kashmir has decided to take concrete measures to provide cheap flour to the masses.
According to the data unveiled by the government, flour was available in remote and snowy areas in abundance and efforts were being taken to ensure its delivery to the people. The problem was not the shortage of flour but the existing price difference, a government official said on Monday.
The price of government flour in the market is 2,500 rupees while flour in the market is sold at 6,200 rupees per forty kg. Those who used to buy private flour have started buying government flour, as a result, the demand for government flour has increased manifold. The subsidized flour provided by the government is 300,000 tons which constitutes 60 percent of the total requirement.
The total requirement of flour in AJK is 520,000 tons; 10 percent of the requirement is met by local production while 30 percent is met by the private sector. Due to the increase in the price of imported wheat this year, the government is providing a total subsidy of 14 billion rupees.
During the past couple of months, the AJK has witnessed a significant increase in the number of buyers of subsidized flour, and people who used to buy one bag of flour are buying five extra bags due to the rising inflation and fear of shortage of food commodities.
On the one hand, recommendations related to setting up a mechanism to limit the subsidy of flour to deserving people are under consideration while on the other hand, AJK Prime Minister Sardar Tanveer Ilyas Khan has asked the federal government for a supplementary grant for the payment of the bill to the PASCO and releasing of the share of the money the federal government had slashed by imposing budgetary cuts.
So far no response has been received due to which the government is trying to continue the supply of wheat by paying PASCO on one hand and making a policy of providing targeted subsidized flour on the other hand in view of the hardships of the public.__Daily Times