Rawalpindi-An intense wheat flour shortage has been witnessed in several markets of Rawalpindi city ahead of proposed decision of mill owners of jacking up flour prices.

The millers have allegedly stopped supply of flour in the markets.

The 15kg flour bag (medium quality) which is being sold out at Rs 1650 in the markets may rise up to 2000 in upcoming days, according to shopkeepers interviewed by The Nation on Monday.

Similarly, the price of 15kg bag of super fine flour is being planned to jack up from Rs 1650 to 2100 by the millers, they said.

On the other hand, the flour grinders (chaki owners) are involved in selling home-grown wheat flour at Rs 110 per kg with no check and balance on the part of district government and its brigade of price magistrates.

Resultantly, tens of hundreds of citizens are facing huge troubles due to non-availability of flour in the markets or buying the commodity on very high black-market rates, according to a survey conducted by The Nation.

The areas/markets hit by flour shortage or shopkeepers are fleecing the customers  included Morgah, Kotha Kalan, Gulshanabad, Rehman Markaz, Landco, Rukhshanda Mosque, Sanjoli Estate, Kehkashan Colony, Janjua Town, Jarahi, Dhoke Rajgan, Hill View Lane, Munawar Colony, Ali Town, Chungi Number 20, Mumtaz Market, Sadiq Town, Dhoke Haji Niaz Ali, Khatana, Tulsa, Sher Zaman Colony, Raja Akram Road, Dheri Chowk, Tahli Mohri, Lal Kurti, Chungi Number 22, Tench Bhatta, Bakra Mandi, Dhoke Syedan, Shalley Valley, Siham Road, Misrial Road, Chakra, Pirwadhai, Kashmiri Mohala, Shakrial, Sadiqabad, Kuri Road, Muslim Town, Jhanda Cheechi, Mareer Hassan, Mareer Chowk, Murree Road, Raja Bazaar, DAV College Road, Committee Chowk and suburbs.

The food department and the district government are doing nothing to end shortage in these areas, said Ali Khan, a resident of Dhama Syedan. He said that he has to buy roti (naan) from tandoor on high rates as flour is not available in the market.

“We are facing flour crisis because the flour millers have all set to increase rates of flour because of surge in Petroleum prices,” said another citizen Chaudhry Imran, a property dealer in Bakra Mandi.

He said that a 15-kilogram of atta (flour) bag is being sold at high price of Rs 1600 against fixed retail price of Rs1, 350 in grocery shops. He said the shopkeepers have been telling customers that millers are planning to increase price of flour from Rs 1600 to Rs 2000 and that is why they had stopped the supply of flour in markets.

Azam Khattak, a shopkeeper, told The Nation that he has stopped selling flour due to surge in rates of the commodity. He said the dealers have shared with shopkeepers that the mill owners have been planning to jack up price of flour up to Rs 400 to 500 per 15 kg bag.

Many other citizens lodged complaints of flour shortage in the areas and appealed to Punjab chief minister and chief secretary to initiate action against the mill owners to end so-called artificial flour shortage from markets.

Deputy Commissioner (DC) Rawalpindi Tahir Farooq did not respond to a questionnaire sent by this correspondent regarding action on part of district government to end flour shortage in markets of Rawalpindi.