MANSEHRA/UPPER DIR: The prices of wheat flour shot up in Judbah, district headquarters of Torghar, due to the closure of markets on Monday.

The residents complained that the 40kg wheat flour bag was sold at Rs1,850 for two days ago but the price had surged to Rs2,150.

Qazi Aman said the prices of other kitchen items were almost the same.

He asked the government to ensure wheat flour was also being sold at that price on which it was being sold last week.

The shopkeepers said the price of wheat flour jumped in the wholesale market and it was why they also increased at the same rate.

They said the government had announced a crackdown on profiteers and hoarders but ironically, it had yet to act accordingly.

Meanwhile, the district administration arrested 35 shopkeepers here on Monday for violating a ban on business activities.

Assistant commissioner Talat Fahad visited bazaars and arrested 26 shopkeepers and owners of nine snooker clubs and presented them before the magistrate on duty, who sent them to jail on judicial remand.

She also sealed all 35 shops and clubs and said the raids would continue to implement the government’s writ.

The partial lockdown was witnessed in Mansehra, Upper Kohistan, Lower Kohistan and Kolai-Palas districts in upper parts of Hazara division.

The government had notified the closure of shops and suspension of intra-district transport service as a precautionary measure against coronavirus.

The transport vehicles remained off the roads in Mansehra and its suburbs.

In Upper Dir, wheat flour price recorded increase in the markets as the district administration announced a lockdown on Monday.

The price of a 40-kilogramme bag has increased from Rs250 to Rs300 in Dir, Sheringal, Darora, Brawal, Wari tehsils, the consumers complained.

They said shopkeepers were selling 40kg flour bag at Rs2,200 instead of Rs1,900. They said prices of ghee, sugar and other items had also been increased.

They demanded of deputy commissioner Khalid Iqbal Khattak to order crackdown on the profiteers.

Also, on people’s call, relevant officials caught owners of two trucks selling flour to people at increased rates in Darora area, and made them to sell the commodity at official rate.

Published in Dawn, March 24th, 2020