Disposal of surplus stock a problem: KP and Balochistan governments not buying wheat from Passco: minister

The governments of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan did not purchase wheat from Pakistan Agricultural Storage & Supplies Corporation (Passco), which is creating serious problems in the disposal of surplus stock of the commodity, said Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Sikandar Hayat Khan Bosan here on Tuesday.

He said this while briefing the Senate Standing Committee on National Food Security and Research, presided over by Senator Syed Muzaffar Hussain Shah. The minister said that under the law the provinces are bound to purchase wheat from the Passco, but despite repeated requests the governments of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan did not purchase wheat.

The minister said that the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has issued directives to purchase wheat through private people. "The procurement of wheat is the responsibility of federal government but it has also to be disposed of," he said, adding that the government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is not co-operating with the federal government in fertiliser subsidy scheme, he mentioned.

He said the Prime Minister had issued directives to Passco to procure 100,000 tons of wheat in Sindh. The committee issued directives to the chief secretaries of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan to brief the committee about this matter in the next meeting. Managing Director Passco Muhammad Khan Khichi informed the committee that food department of Sindh has selected tehsils and talukas to purchase wheat without consultation of the PASSCO which is not appropriate.

He further told the committee that for Sindh and Balochistan, 100 percent bardana has reached the designated purchase centres and dispatching bardana to purchase centres of Punjab will be completed till April 30. Additional Director Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Ahmad Latif told the committee that 13 people are involved in embezzlement in the Olive Cultivation Project and the agency has arrested 10 people so far in this regard. "The agency will submit the final charge-sheet regarding the scam within 20 days," Latif added.

The committee directed him to submit a detailed report before it after submitting the final charge-sheet. The committee also took serious notice of not holding seminars in the areas identified by standing committee in Sindh province by the Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC). The committee also constituted a subcommittee to conduct an inquiry into the matter. The meeting was also attended by Senators Muhammad Mohsin Khan Leghari, Gul Bashra, Mukhtiar Ahmed Dhamrah and Hari Ram, and officials of the Ministry of National Food Security and Research.