PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court on Wednesday directed the provincial government and Peshawar’s district administration to ensure strict clampdown on profiteering, hoarding and adulteration in the run-up to the Eidul Fitr festival.
A bench consisting of Chief Justice Qaiser Rashid Khan and Justice Lal Jan Khattak was informed by deputy commissioner of Peshawar retired Captain Khalid Mehmood that as directed by the court, the administration had carried out 6,091 inspections and registered 349 FIRs over profiteering and adulteration.
The court directed the DC, advocate general Shumail Ahmad Butt and food secretary Khushal Khan to produce a report after Eid days about steps taken to stabilise prices of essential commodities.
Asks govt to ensure exports don’t cause shortages in country
The bench also asked the DC and AG to submit copies of the FIRs registered against the people involved in hoarding, adulteration and profiteering to ensure that they don’t receive any relief from subordinate courts.
The chief justice observed that the people playing with the people’s lives didn’t deserve leniency.
The bench was hearing a case on price hike and hoarding, whose notice was taken by itlately. It fixed May 21 for the next hearing.
AG Shumail Butt informed the bench that in accordance with its earlier orders, the issue was also taken up with the federal government, while a high level-committee had been constituted to make a joint strategy to check hoarding, profiteering and adulteration.
He said the report of the committee would be submitted to the court on a regular basis.
The deputy commissioner also produced a report about the performance of the district administration on the matter.
According to the report, during inspections, a total of 1,365 traders were taken into custody for overcharging customers, while 296 shops were sealed.
Among the arrested traders were 558 butchers, 187 milkmen and 620 others.
The report said the arrested traders were fined a total of Rs3 million.
The deputy commissioner told the bench that the district administration had set up five sasta bazaars in the provincial capital for the current month of fasting and in addition to them, 50 mobile shops were selling essential items to the people at subsidised rates on the outskirts of the city.
He said 2,200kg of adulterated tea were also seized during raids.
The bench observed that the recent steps taken by the administration had stabilised prices of different essential items to some extent, so more efforts were required to improve the situation.
Food secretary Khushal Khan said the government had been providing sugar and flour on subsidized rates across the province.
He said the prices of essential items had’improved’, especially that of vegetables, including onion and tomatoes.
A representative of thefederal food ministry’s animal husbandry sectiontold the bench that they had introduced certain conditions for the export of poultry products to Afghanistan following which exports had reduced and thechicken’s availability on the market had improved.
The bench observed that the government should develop export policies, whose enforcement didn’t cause shortage of commodities in the country.
It added that on one hand, the people had been suffering due to Covid-19 pandemic but on the other, they were subjected to price hike, adulteration and hoarding.
The bench observed that the ministers should also look into the matter and should strive for providing relief to their people.
Published in Dawn, May 6th, 2021