Rawalpindi: Punjab to reward informers Wheat smuggling
RAWALPINDI: After warning the smugglers of wheat that the commodity and the vehicle used for smuggling will be confiscated, the Punjab government on Wednesday offered anyone informing about smuggling 10 per cent of the value of the wheat seized.
Punjab Minister for Food Malik Nadeem Kamran announced this at a news conference in which he termed the wheat smugglers “the biggest enemies of humanity” as their illegal practice was resulting in flour shortage across the country.
The minister acknowledged that wheat from Punjab was being smuggled to NWFP and other parts of the country, and feared that the practice, if not contained timely, would create a serious flour shortage.
He emphasised that the public should be involved in keeping an eye on the smuggling of wheat, and said those who would inform the revenue or excise officials about smuggling of wheat would be given 10 per cent share in the seized stock.
Mr Kamran, who was flanked by Punjab Minister for Excise and Taxation Muhabbati Rehman, accused the Chaudhrys of Gujrat of creating the current flour shortage, and argued that the former government had not increased the support price of wheat that resulted in the crisis.
The minister said the provincial government had ordered import of 2.5 million metric tons of wheat to meet the demands of the province, adding that additional quantity of imported wheat was also in the pipeline.
Replying to a question that the smuggling of wheat on such a large scale was the failure of the authorities to contain the menace, he said additional staff had been deployed at various check posts connecting NWFP with Punjab.
Mr Kamran also said that inter-district smuggling of wheat within Punjab was contributing to flour shortage in the province, and directed the revenue officers to control the practice as soon as possible.
He said one million tons of wheat were being transported to NWFP daily after approval from the Punjab cabinet, adding that there was no need to smuggle the commodity from Punjab. He warned that the smugglers would be dealt with harshly if caught.