Balochistan to procure 500,000 metric tonnes of wheat, decides cabinet

The Balochistan cabinet has decided to procure 500,000 metric tonnes of wheat this year in a bid to provide relief to the masses and has fixed the support price of wheat in the province equal to the price in Sindh.

During a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Sarfraz Bugti here Saturday, the cabinet agreed to change the method of procurement of wheat and ordered to purchase customised modern eco-friendly bags for wheat.

The cabinet decided to discontinue the purchase of bardrana (gunny sacks) at the government level from next year and instructed the Food Department to pay the amount of gunny sacks to farmers instead of purchasing the same at the government level.

The meeting was briefed by Food Secretary Saleh Baloch that at present 58,000 gunny sacks were available with the Food Department while a tender had been issued for the purchase of more sacks.

The cabinet directed the Food Department to cancel the tender and purchase standard bags available in the market instead.

The cabinet approved the fixing of wheat price equal to the price fixed by the Sindh government to stop smuggling of wheat from Balochistan to Sindh due to price instability.

During the meeting, the Balochistan chief minister approved the establishment of a monitoring committee, consisting of members of the assembly, to ensure transparency in wheat procurement.

The committee which will also include officers nominated by the chief secretary will examine the transparency and lack of deficiencies in the wheat procurement process across the province.

It was decided that the procurement of wheat would be done on first-come first-served basis only at the approved centres without any discrimination.

The cabinet also approved a grant of Rs500 million for the martyrs of Balochistan Police.

Addressing the cabinet members, Chief Minister Bugti said that the stories of corruption in the purchase of gunny sacks were not hidden from anyone. “We have to improve the rules-based system and put it on the right track to ensure the implementation of proposed measures in good faith and by collective consensus.”

The CM directed the food secretary to ensure the availability of gunny sacks at all approved centres during the wheat procurement season.

The gunny sacks should not allowed outside these centres and transparency should be ensured during its distribution, Bugti ordered, and warned that during the process, any instances of partiality and favouritism would not be tolerated.

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