Prime Minister Imran Khan has taken notice of the recent surge in wheat prices and instructed all four provincial chief secretaries to initiate a ‘grand operation’ against those involved in hoarding the flour and selling it at exorbitant rates, a private TV channel reported on Saturday.The Prime Minister’s Office ordered the provincial governments, chief commissioners and deputy commissioners to take stern action against the culprits. Authorities have been directed to arrest persons hoarding flour or those selling it at expensive rates and seal their warehouses, the report said. The district administration and DCs have been ordered to conduct operations and submit reports within 24 hours. It has also been made clear that wherever flour is hoarded, sold at exorbitant rates or found to be short in supply, the relevant authorities will be held responsible, the TV channel reported. Flour prices have skyrocketed across the country in recent days, selling for as high as Rs 62 per kilogram at several retail stores. The price of the flour increased by five rupees in just last week due to shortage of wheat supply. “Fine flour is available for Rs 62/kg while the price of mill flour increased by five to six rupees and is being sold between Rs 62/kg to Rs70/kg,” the president of the flour retailers association said.In Karachi, a sack of flour is being sold for Rs 500. In some parts of the city, a bag of 10kg flour which cost Rs 450 before the crisis is now being sold for Rs 700 after an increase of Rs 250. In Lahore, the Punjab Flour Mill Association increased the price of flour by Rs 6 per kg, after which it is now being sold at Rs 70 per kg across the province. In order to ensure uninterrupted transportation of wheat and flour from Punjab to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), important decisions were taken by Punjab Chief Secretary Punjab Major (r) Azam Suleman Khan during his video-link meeting with KP Chief Secretary Dr Kazim Niaz on Saturday. The KP chief secretary informed his counterpart about the problems being faced at borders during transportation of wheat and flour from Punjab to KP. Major (r) Azam Suleman Khan assured that all necessary arrangements will be made to resolve these problems and instructions have been issued to the relevant authorities in this regard. The meeting decided that relevant officers of food departments of both the provinces will keep close liaison to get the required results regarding wheat and flour availability.Meanwhile, Leader of Opposition in National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif on Saturday slammed the government for the price hike, saying that ‘people’s lives are being made miserable by the day with government’s apathetic attitude.’ “Aata crisis and massive price hike is yet another reminder of sheer callousness that is hallmark of the PTI government. People’s lives are being made miserable by the day with government’s apathetic attitude!,” the PML-N leader wrote on his Twitter handle.