(City): 80,000 wheat bags still kept under open sky in Naudero

Larkana:As many as 80,000 wheat bags procured this year by Sindh Government’s Food Department at the cost of Rs 140 million has not yet been lifted or shifted to safe places of government godowns and is still lying under open sky at Muhammad Murad Bhutto Rice Mill in Naundero.

The food grains have been destroyed by weather conditions and recent rains but Food Department officials did not bother to shift the wheat to godowns. A Food Center was established at the rice mill without taking into consideration that there were no sheds in the mill and the wheat will be destroyed during hot summer days and rains if it was kept there.

Wheat grains are constantly pouring out of the torn substandard bags which were procured for storing the crop so that the same could be sold to flour mills across Sindh for selling wheat flour at cheaper rates to the poverty-stricken people of Sindh in this price-hike era.

The concerned Food Inspector, on political influence, selected the mill for storing the wheat bags under open sky, credible sources claimed. Now the insects have also damaged the wheat grains as they have become wet after recent rains which will further destroy the stock.

In this connection, rice mill owner Rahmatullah Bhutto told newsmen that he has been constantly asking the food inspector to shift the wheat stock to government godowns for proper safety but nothing has yet been done. He said he needed the mill’s ground to dry the upcoming wet paddy crop as the rice season is also approaching very fast. He said 80,000 bags are still lying at his mill cost of which is estimated to be Rs 140 million. He said bags have been torn due to hot weather and recent rains have also caused tremendous damage to the wheat grains as insects have also appeared among them damaging the stock, he added.

When this Scribe tried to contact Deputy Director (DD), Food, Larkana Region, an official disclosed that the post is lying vacant since over a month after retirement of one DD and no substitute has so far been provided.

It must also be mentioned here that wheat procured by Food inspector Manthar Noonari last year was allegedly stolen and the said case is under investigation by NAB. Noonari was contacted to have his input about the issue but his number remained off.