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Punjab Announces Prices for Privately Purchased Wheat and Its Products for the First Time

For the first time, Punjab has released official prices for privately bought wheat and its products. In an unprecedented effort to control the rising cost of staple foods, the Punjab government announced on Saturday the prices for privately purchased wheat and its related products.

The Director of Food Punjab issued three notifications detailing the maximum prices for local wheat, whole meal wheat flour (atta), and fortified wheat flour across all 38 districts of the province. This action was taken under Section 5(2) of the newly enacted Punjab Price Control of Essential Commodities Act, 2024. The new prices are effective immediately and will remain in force until further notice.

According to the notifications, the maximum retail price for 40-kg of local wheat is set between Rs2,800 and Rs3,050, depending on the district. The notifications also specify that no dealer, wholesaler, or retailer can charge more than the fixed rates for local wheat.

The provincial government has also set the maximum retail prices for whole meal wheat flour (atta) at Rs900 for a 10-kg bag and Rs1,800 for a 20-kg bag. Additionally, the Director of Food mandated that each bag must be labeled with the name of the material, the name and address of the miller or manufacturer, a list of ingredients or additives, a trademark, the average net weight, a batch or code number, the net mass in kilograms, and the date of manufacture and expiry, along with a mark and license number.

The third notification sets the maximum retail prices for fortified wheat flour, with 10-kg bags priced between Rs820 and Rs920 and 20-kg bags priced between Rs1,620 and Rs1,840, depending on the district.

Commenting on the development, Majid Abdullah and Khaliq Arshad of the Progressive Flour Millers Group criticized the price fixation as a mockery by the provincial Food Department. They questioned how the provincial government could set wheat and atta prices in a free-market economy where demand and supply determine prices.

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