LAHORE– Senior and Food Minister Punjab Abdul Aleem Khan, in a detailed statement on the policy of Food Department, told the Punjab Assembly Wednesday that for the first time in history, farmers in Punjab got more than Rs1,400 per maund of wheat while the government has historical reserves of 43.2 million metric tonnes of wheat.
He added that after ample procurement of wheat, now all our focus is on keeping the price of flour in the market to a minimum which In Sha Allah will be in practical in the next one week by releasing wheat to flour mills.
Abdul Aleem Khan further said that the people still have twice as much wheat as the Government has purchased and In Sha Allah the Punjab Government will reorganize the Food Department on new lines including subsidy mechanism.
Commenting on the speeches of PML-N members, Abdul Aleem Khan said that where are the people who are remembering the days of Chaudhry Pervez Elahi today? They did not implement Wazirabad Cardiology Hospital and Mian Mir Hospital Lahore who were kept on hold for 10 years only because these projects were inaugurated by Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi.
Abdul Aleem Khan asked “Showbaz Sharif”, who was in a habbit to call the meeting at 4 am, to give details of the projects which PTI Government has not allowed to be completed in the last two years. Abdul Aleem Khan claimed that the people of Punjab are suffering and the provincial government has so far incurred a debt of Rs 550 billion on the purchase of wheat alone, on which the banks have to pay Rs 40 billion per annum as interest only while giving policy statement Abdul Aleem Khan said that the procedure for procurement of wheat in Punjab will be made realistic from next year and in few days important decisions will be taken by the Punjab Cabinet regarding the release of wheat to flour mills.
He informed the House that the Federal Government has permitted to import 2.5 million metric tons of wheat. He acknowledged that cotton production in Punjab is declining which is the responsibility of the Nawaz League Government which has set up sugar mills in South Punjab to reward the people of its choice.
Abdul Aleem Khan, while giving a policy statement regarding the Food Department, assured the House that like rice, wheat should also be given free market policy and we will minimize Government intervention to prevent corruption and inappropriate measures. Senior Minister Abdul Aleem Khan also pointed out the new policy on flour subsidy in which cheap flour would be given only to the needy instead of all without any discrimination.