LAHORE: The Punjab government is setting up farmer markets at the tehsil level and starting vegetable-fruit home delivery system in five big cities to ensure availability of kitchen items at fixed prices in the province.
The step will basically bypass middlemen and hoarders whom the government considers the main cause of inflation in the province. “The new system will link consumers to the wholesale markets where rates are much lower than from the retail market. This is so because fruits and vegetables reach people through the greedy middlemen and big time hoarders running cold storage chains,” an official said.
The subject was discussed and decided at a meeting presided over by Chief Secretary Yousaf Naseem Khokhar here on Friday. He said initially home delivery system would be launched in Lahore, Rawalpindi, Gujranwala, Faisalabad and Multan as a pilot project.
He said Qeemat Punjab App had been developed to monitor prices and effectively address complaints of consumers, adding that facility of online purchase of commodities at fixed rates would now also be provided through this app. He asked the officers to enhance awareness among people to fully benefit from the Qeemat Punjab App.
He said from the next week farmer markets would start working in 30 fruit and vegetable markets in different districts where farmers would directly sell vegetables, fruits and similar commodities without involvement of a middle man. Later, two such farmer markets would be established in tehsils in every district, he maintained.
He said black-marketeeing would not be tolerated in any case, adding that it was the top priority of the government to provide relief to the common man and no compromise can be made on this important matter.
He ordered a stern action against profiteers, hoarders and those creating artificial dearness. He asked the officers concerned to keep a strict check on wholesalers rather than shopkeepers because it would help stabilize prices.
He said the sale of items like wheat flour, sugar, ghee and roti would be ensured at the prices fixed by the government.The meeting was attended by the additional chief secretary, administrative secretaries of different departments including agriculture and industries, chairman of PITB and other officers concerned.
Published in Dawn, November 9th, 2019