MULTAN - The trio of corrupt elements from the Food, Agriculture and Revenue departments has made hefty fortunes in recent wheat procurement operation by issuing fake certificates of ownership (fard-e-milkiyat), under-weight jute bags and less weighing, The Nation has learnt. Well informed sources in food department told this scribe that such food officials, who are appointed at the same centres for the last eight to 10 years, benefited the most from grower-looting spree followed by revenue and agriculture ones. These centres are located in far-flung areas and these officials are fully backed by the MPAs and MNAs concerned as well as some top officials at the provincial secretariat. They dont let any one transfer them, sources added. Unearthing the technical swindling the wheat growers were subjected to by the food officials, sources said that the officials at procurement centres minted 200 gram wheat from each bag by issuing under-weight jute bags. The government got prepared bags weighing 1100 gram with its sign printed on it but the officials replaced them with fake bags weighing 200 gram less than the original ones, sources further revealed. They added that the preparation of 1000 wheat bags with 1100 gram weight cost Rs100,000 while the fake bags cost Rs80,000. Thus the mafia earned Rs20,000 per 1000 bags in bag manufacturing besides saving 200 gram wheat on each bag, sources claimed. It is learnt that the growers were forced to get their bags weighed on specific scales especially installed by the mafia outside the procurement centres. If the government seal the centres set up in far flung areas and take their record in custody, entire corruption will be traced. Sources confided to this scribe that the circle of corruption starts from patwaris, who issue certificate of ownership to the wheat growers. They (patwaris) have issued so many bogus certificates that the government can earn billions of rupees if it recovers water rate and agriculture tax from the bearers of these certificates, sources claimed, adding that each patwari earned around Rs1.5 million from issuance of fake certificates. It is interesting to note here that the procurement centres were directed by the government to purchase wheat from the growers of their concerned area but neither revenue nor food departments acted upon government order. Citing examples, sources disclosed that Jugguwala and Bahadurpur centres of Tehsil Jalalpur purchased wheat from growers of Lodhran while Ghazipur centre bought wheat from Union Council Khairpur Dalma district Bahawalpur. Similarly, the growers of Muzaffargarh sold their produce at different centres of Multan. The mafia earned millions through this practice. If the government check the record, grave malpractices and corruption will be traced in procurement operation, sources claimed. On the other hand, the vicious alliance of revenue, food and agriculture officials as well as traders has forced the growers to sell their crop out on throw away price to the agents of hoarders roaming in entire wheat growing belt. Although a string of protest demonstrations has taken place in Dunyapur, Shah Jamal, Chowk Maitla, Burewala, JahanianTibba Sultanpur, Rohillanwali, Jalalpur, Rangpur, Makhdoompur Pahoran, Karampur and all other small and big towns of South Punjab region against food and revenue officials for their alleged corruption in wheat procurement operation, provincial government has taken no action against them. Pointing out corruption in gunny bag distribution, Abdul Hameed Bhutta, a wheat grower from Muzaffargarh district, said that the growers were denied jute bags on which they were compelled to sell out their crop at Rs770 per 40 kg instead of Rs. 950 to the traders, bearing a loss of Rs180 per maund. Its a conspiracy against growers. The traders get the bags on fake fard-e-milkiyat and then approach the growers to tell them that there is no bag left at the centre for them, persuading them to sell out their produce to the hoarders, he claimed. He said that although the government had formed monitoring committees comprising local political and social leaders to keep the procurement process transparent, they failed to discharge their obligations. The mafia took their sting out by issuing gunny bags to them. Whoever made a noise, he was issued some bags, he maintained. He demanded of the chief minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif to take notice of farmers ordeal and issue order for launching of crackdown on vicious trio of patwaris, food and agriculture officials busy in looting poor wheat growers with both hands.