KARACHI: While consumers in Karachi are compelled to pay higher rates for chakki flour and ex-mill flour, the flour mill owners instead of grinding the officially provided wheat at subsidised rates, are making whooping financial gains by supplying them in the open market.
The rates of chakki flour continue to be persistently on the higher side of Rs 50 per kilogramme (kg) and ex-mill at Rs 43 to Rs 44 per kg, both the items are supplied in the market mainly from the wheat provided by the Sindh Food Department to more than 70 flour mills in the port city at subsidised rates of Rs 34.50 per kg, the same is allegedly sold in the open market by the millers at inflated rates of Rs 43 per kg,
By selling subsidised wheat at a margin of around Rs 9.0 per kg, millers are able to fetch very high profit rates at the expense of helpless consumers, which was hardly taken cognisance of by the Sindh Food Department. The department has been supplying wheat to millers from its huge godowns situated across the province and which was procured from the taxes of the masses.
According to some officials of the food department, the concerned employees responsible for keeping an eye over illegal activities of the millers were found looking most of the time the other way mainly owing to their financial interests involved in safeguarding millers.
According to them, each of the miller is provided around 10,000 to 12,000 bags of wheat per month, each weighing some 100kg, and by selling the subsidised wheat at higher rates enables every miller to earn around Rs 3.0 million per month without involving any effort.
However, during the process the rights of consumers are brazenly trampled of which no notice is taken at government level.
Talking to the scribe, one of the chakki owners claimed that the quality flour can be provided to consumers at around Rs 43 to Rs 44 per kg if the subsidised wheat is provided to them regularly by the Sindh Food Department, however this would not yield substantial financial gains to the officials involved in provision of wheat to millers and specially responsible to keep an eye over unlawful activities of millers and their factories.
The Sindh Food Department has adequate stock of wheat in its godowns but the officials are reluctant to provide them to other stakeholders for the fear of not getting enough financial reward from them.
In his reaction to higher rates of chakki flour, a retailer at the busy empress market blamed the situation on shortage of wheat in the open market, which was replenished by the flourmill owners, who frequently dispose their wheat stock in the open market at very high rates.
Rs 43 to Rs 44
Govt rate for flour mills