'Free' wheat flour distribution to begin from Saturday: PM

Shehbaz Sharif approves Rs 8,500 per 40-kg as cotton support price 15 million poor people likely to get free flour during Ramazan through Utility Stores n Orders outsourcing collection, disposal of federal capital’s solid waste.

LAHORE    -   Prime Minister Shehbaz Shar­if Monday said that around 15.8 million households of Pun­jab province would be provided wheat flour free of charge during the holy Month of Ramazan.

The prime minister, who chaired a meeting to review the Ramazan Package, said it was for the first time in country's histo­ry that a package for distribu­tion of free wheat flour had been prepared. He said the wheat flour would be distributed from 25th of Sha'ban (Saturday) to 25th of Ramazan through 8,500 Utility Stores. Moreover, another 20,000 flour distribution points would also be set up to facilitate the people.

The prime minister direct­ed the authorities concerned to ensure transparency in the dis­tribution of free flour among the poor and instructed to use modern technology to curb theft during the process. More­over, he said there would be no compromise on the quality of flour. He said the people would be able to check their eligibility for the free wheat flour through an SMS. The prime minister said the federal government would also assist the other provinces for such a programme.

The representative of the Pun­jab government gave a detailed briefing to the prime minister on the free flour distribution programme during the Holy Month of Ramazan.

Caretaker Punjab Chief Minis­ter Syed Mohsin Raza Naqvi, Ad­visor to PM Ahad Cheema and relevant senior officers attend­ed the meeting.

Also, in a major step to facili­tate the cotton farmers, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Mon­day approved Rs 8,500 per 40-kg as the support price of the commodity. The prime minister directed to present the matter to the Economic Coordination Committee on priority. Chairing a meeting of the Agriculture Task Force, the prime minister urged the provinces to ensure the im­plementation of cotton price.

He termed cotton as the back­bone of the country’s textile sec­tor and expressed confidence 

that the step would support the farm­ers. Highlighting the importance of cotton in earning foreign exchange, PM Shehbaz Sharif said the govern­ment would extend all possible assis­tance to the provinces in this regard.

He mentioned that steps were be­ing taken to boost per acre produce of cotton and directed the Ministry of National Food Security to finalize requisite proposals.

The meeting was informed that last year, the cotton produce faced ex­ponential reduction due to floods, heavy rains, shortage of canal irriga­tion water, and the crisis of fertilizer.

This year, the overall cotton pro­duction has been estimated at 12.77 million bales, which is expected to witness significant growth as a result of the policies of the government.

The meeting was attended by Fed­eral Ministers Ishaq Dar, Syed Naveed Qamar, Tariq Bashir Cheema, Care­taker Chief Minister Punjab Mohsin Raza Naqvi, Adviser to PM Ahad Cheema, and relevant officials.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister She­hbaz Sharif on Monday ordered to outsource collection and disposal of solid waste in the Federal Capital to provide services of international standard to the residents and reduce government expenditures.

The prime minister, chairing a high-level meeting to discuss the project of solid waste in Islamabad and its suburbs, called for floating an international tender to establish a coordinated solid waste manage­ment system in the city.

He instructed that a solid waste dis­posal system should immediately be launched in the city. A model of sol­id waste disposal already existed in Punjab as during his stint as the pro­vincial chief minister, his government had introduced a project of interna­tional standard for waste disposal in Lahore, he added.

The prime minister said all stag­es from solid waste collection to its transportation to the landfill site should be outsourced. In the second phase, power generation through sol­id waste should be planned, he add­ed. The meeting was told that work on the solid waste project in Islam­abad was going at a fast pace as land for the landfill site had been selected.

The prime minister said outsourc­ing solid waste collection and dis­posal would not only ensure the provision of quality services to the residents but also reduce the govern­ment’s expenditures.

The meeting was briefed in detail about the progress of the project. The prime minister instructed to execute the project within the stip­ulated time.

Former members of the Nation­al Assembly Tariq Fazal Chaudhry, Hanif Abbasi and Anjum Aqeel, commissioners of Islamabad and Rawalpindi, and relevant senior of­ficers attended the meeting.

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