Lahore : Food Department has taken number of steps for safeguarding the rights of the cultivators as well as for their welfare as a result of which farmers are getting better returns of their produces.
This was stated by Minister for Food Samiullah Chaudhry while addressing a press conference at DGPR Office here today. Secretary Food Punjab Shaukat Ali, Additional Director General Punjab Food Authority Ms. Lubna and Cane Commissioner Punjab Wajid Ali Shah were also present on the occasion.
Samiullah Ch. said that it is for the first time during the last ten years, sugar mill owners have made timely payment to the cane growers at the rate of Rs. 180 per mound. He said that present government has successfully made the sugarmill owners of previous government to pay to the growers 99 percent of the blocked payment of Rs. 27 billion.
He said that 700 FIRs have been registered against middleman who are exploiting cultivators besides imposing fine of Rs. 51 lakh to the sugar mills. While talking to the media persons, he said that wheat storage was the second major issue because it was lying in an open areas without out shelter for last three years as food department has no godown to store such a huge quantity of wheat.
There was a chance of wastage of wheat, keeping in view, food department had started to release the stocks/reserves of wheat and so far we have been succeeded to release 49 lakh 50 thousand metric ton wheat. Still, food department has stock of 22 lakh metric ton wheat which will be released till 15th of April.
He said that the previous government took loan of Rs. 447 billion from the banks which are being paid by the present government. He said that present government has paid Rs. 112 billion to the banks, so far. He further stated that under public private partnership solace are being constructed in DG Khan, Bhakkar, Layyah for storing wheat.
The Minister further maintained that Punjab Food Authority has taken strict action against those who were involved in preparing substandard edibles. He said that Punjab Food Authority is ensuring the strict implementation on SOPs under which lakh of litter unhygienic milk, thousands kgs injurious to health meat, 35 lakh substandard eggs have been disposed of in Punjab.
He said that Punjab Food Authority’s vigilance cell conducted successful raids at 688 spots out of which 209 have been sealed, 48 have been fined and 90 notices have been served.
Samiullah Ch. said that so far substandard edible of rupees 166 million were disposed of by Punjab Food Authority. He said that 52 thousand licenses have been issued to those who are related to food business. He said that 20700 out of 55555 samples were declared fake.