ISLAMABAD: Within a year of an increase in the prices of breads such as naan, roti, paratha and kulcha, nanbais in Islamabad have unilaterally raised the prices of these products again.

Bakers announced that the prices of bread have been raised because of the increase in the cost of wheat flour and the high rents in Islamabad, which are making their business unviable.

The prices of paratha and roghni naan have been increased from Rs25 to Rs35, while kulcha has gone from Rs15 to Rs18. Naan or khamiri naan has gone from Rs2 to Rs15, and roti or pateer is being sold for Rs12.

Where nanbais raised prices on Eidul Fitr last year, this time they have raised prices during Eidul Azha.

The new rates have been implemented in Islamabad collectively by all three associations of nanbais in the capital, the General Nanbai Association (GNA), Capital Nanbai Association and the Bhara Kahu Nanbai Association.

The associations have decided to print a new price list for their members and have claimed that the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) administration has approved their demand to increase prices.

“We approached the ICT administration to review the rates of various products, but there was not an appropriate response,” Bhara Kahu Nanbai Association Chairman Habib Khan said, adding: “The rates have been increased in Islamabad only, because the problems faced by us are not the same as those in Rawalpindi.”

Capital Nanbai Association President Shafiq Qureshi said that the ICT does not have objections to the increase, as only roti is covered by the Food Act and its rate too cannot be maintained at Rs10 because of the increase in the price of wheat flour.

As they did last year, the associations have also announced a protest at D-Chowk on Aug 10 to demand a reduction in wheat flour prices, rent and gas prices.

Last year, after the authorities announced a crackdown on the increase in bread prices, Islamabad’s nanbais threatened a shutter-down strike if the new rates were not notified.

The ICT administration had formed teams led by officers from various parts of the capital with whom residents could lodge complaints of overcharging by nanbais. Assistant commissioners and magistrates had also been directed to furnish daily inspection reports.

Despite these attempts, bread continued to be sold at high prices and there was no check on the official weight of 120 grams each.

Published in Dawn, August 7th, 2020