SWABI/LAKKI MARWAT: Wheat flour price registered an increase of over Rs100 per 20kg bag in Swabi on Wednesday, both people and traders told Dawn.
It has been learnt that people have started storing essential commodities from the last few days due to fear that there might be a complete lockdown soon and it would become difficult for them to come out from their houses for buying food items.
The price of 20kg bag, which was earlier available here in the market at Rs800, has now jumped to 1,150 while 80kg flour bag was available at Rs4,700.
Reports from various parts of the district said that 20kg bag was sold by shopkeepers at about Rs1,200 and the traders were not ruling out further increase.
When asked, a shopkeeper Tariq Jan said the flour bags stock with him had already finished and he had placed orders for supply, but did not know what would be the new rate.
Lakki people fear food shortage
Other traders and shopkeepers said that the reason for price hike was that the supply chain had been disturbed due to precautionary measures.
Zahir Shah, a former councillor, demanded of the district administration to take action against traders indulging in overcharging consumers. When contacted, the district administration officials said that flour was available at Rs808 per 20kg bag at selected points.
Besides, butchers have been violating the price list issued by the tehsil municipal administrations of four tehsils. The government has fixed the price of beef at Rs350 per kg, but the butchers were openly charging Rs400.
In Lakki Marwat, people swarmed the mobile flour sale point at the main bus stop in the city on Wednesday to buy the commodity on official rate.
Local people fear that they could face shortage of daily use commodities in markets if the lockdown to contain prevalence of coronavirus prolonged.
An official said that the administration had established several mobile flour sale points in Lakki, Naurang and other towns to ensure provision of the commodity to the people on controlled rate.
Meanwhile, the district administration forcibly closed parking stands of auto-rickshaws, cars and coaches in Lakki, Naurang and other areas in order to implement guidelines of social distancing issued by provincial government so as to protect the people from coronavirus infection.
Following directives of deputy commissioner Abdul Haseeb, the administration officials visited different towns to check closure of shops and markets.
Besides closing stands of public transport the officials also removed people from roadsides near the main bus stop and asked them to stay indoors for their own safety.
Published in Dawn, March 26th, 2020