Karachiites faced a shortage of flour on Tuesday as its supply to grocery shops was affected amid a lockdown in Sindh.
Samaa Digital surveyed a number of grocery shops where retailers shared they had limited stock left as there was no supply during the last three days.
Mohammad Iqbal, who runs a grocery store, said he made several phone calls to the supplier but received no response.
“I am running out of stock and do not have even a single flour bag to sell,” Iqbal said. He said each customer was demanding two to three flour bags at once, which had resulted in the price hike.
Another retailer Haji Mohammad Nazeer said he asked for 100 flour bags but the supplier provided only 20 bags. This was creating a shortage of flour in the market, he shared.
Aakash Kumar, a representative of Century Roller and Flour Mills, told SAMAA Digital that the flour price had already been increased by Rs2.50 per kg.
According to Kumar, flour mills were not getting enough wheat for the last 15 to 20 days. He said the supply was further affected and the labour was also not there due to the 15-day lockdown.
However, he said the supply resumed slightly on Tuesday and they provided hundreds of flour bags to retailers.
“The demand of shopkeepers is too much high, as they are demanding 100 to 200 bags at once,” Kumar said. “But we are supplying limited stock to facilitate each retailer.”
The wholesale rate of a 5kg flour bag was Rs250. Now it is being supplied to the retailer at Rs275.
Similarly, the wholesale rate of a 10kg bag has increased to Rs550 from Rs525.
Retailer Iqbal said they are selling the 10kg bag for Rs600, which was previously sold at the rate of Rs580. The 5kg flour bag is being sold at a rate of Rs325, according to Iqbal. It was previously sold for Rs300.
Karachi Commissioner Iftikhar Shallwani told SAMAA Digital that the administration was well aware of the flour shortage in Karachi.
“We are taking steps to curtail it and the Sindh government will provide flour bags to people at official rates,” he said.
Shallwani said the administration was also working out a plan to ensure an uninterrupted supply of floor to the people of Karachi.