Gilgit-Baltistan to get subsidy on wheat
ISLAMABAD: The government has formally accepted the demand of Gilgit-Baltistan people for continuation of subsidy on wheat and an additional Rs450 million under this head.
The price of what in the region would be Rs11 per kg instead of Rs14. The development came after hectic efforts by the ministry, as the people of the region under the Awami Action Committee (an alliance of 22 religious and political parties), declined to end their protest against withdrawal of wheat subsidy unless the decision was reversed.
Federal Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan Chaudhry Muhammad Barjees Tahir told a news briefing here that in view of difficulties of the people of Gilgit-Baltistan the government had decided to continue subsidy on the staple food.
He was talking to media persons after successful deliberations between the government committee and Awami Action Committee representatives, which had a round of discussions in recent days.
The minister was flanked by Gilgit-Baltistan Chief Minister Syed Mehdi Shah, the Awami Action Committee and the government committee representatives.He noted the federal government was paying Rs5.65 billion annual subsidy on wheat to the people of Gilgit-Baltistan. He added another Rs450 million proposed by the Awami Action Committee and the government committee on wheat had also been accepted by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
The minister pointed out that production of crops in Gilgit-Baltistan was extremely limited because most parts of the region remained covered with snow for about nine months in a year.
Similarly, the economic activities in the region, he noted, were also limited. However, he added the government was taking measures to enhance economic activity there so that the people might not look for subsidy in future.To a question, the minister said the new price of wheat could be applicable instantly.
Mehdi Shah thanked the Prime Minister of Pakistan for accepting their demands and urged the federal government to focus on creating job opportunities in the region and generation of economic activities so that people could come of this situation.The relieved Awami Action Committee representatives announced to end the sit-in after their demands were accepted.