KARACHI: The city administration has sought time from the Sindh High Court to propose a mechanism to resolve a controversy regarding prices of fresh milk after taking all stakeholders on board.

A two-judge bench headed by Justice Mohammad Ali Mazhar reissued a notice to the All Karachi Milk Retailers Association with a direction to ensure the presence of its representative on June 10 along with its reply.

It also directed the additional commissioner to file a progress report about the mechanism of the milk price on the next hearing.

The bench was hearing a petition filed against provincial and local administration as well as the Sindh Food Authority (SFA) for not ensuring sale of fresh milk on notified prices in the provincial metropolis.

At the outset, Additional Commissioner Asad Ali Khan submitted that the wholesale rate of fresh milk was fixed at Rs88.5 per litre, whereas the retail price was set at Rs94 per litre in 2018.

An additional commissioner says milk sellers are complaining about high wholesale rate

He further submitted that the same rate was in field and the commissioner’s office was continuously raiding milk shops and imposing fines in case of violations of the approved rates.

However, he also submitted that the milk sellers were also complaining that the wholesale rate was much higher than the price fixed for retailers and it was not possible for them to sell milk at Rs94 per litre.

The official requested the bench to grant him time to propose a mechanism to resolve this controversy after taking all the stakeholders on board as well as to file a progress report on the next hearing.

SFA director (operation) Iqbal Ahmed Mirani filed a statement along with some documents regarding milk price and quality and copies were provided to the lawyer for the petitioner, who wanted to go through the same.

The bench noted that on the last hearing focal person of the All Karachi Milk Retailers Association Khalil Ahmed was present and requested for time to engage his counsel, but he was found absent.

The bench repeated the notice to the association and directed it to ensure that its representative would appear on the next hearing along with his reply.

Initially, Abdul Sattar Hakeem filed a petition stating that the official price of fresh milk was fixed at Rs94 per litre in Karachi, but it was being sold at around Rs140 per litre in different parts of the city in violation of the notified rates.

He said the respondents had failed to enforce the official price.

Later, two lawyers, Nadeem Shaikh and Tariq Mansoor, also became interveners in the proceedings and submitted that all the respondents were liable to check and control price and prevention of illegal profiteering under the Sindh Essential Commodities Price Control and Prevention of Profiteering and Hoarding Act 2006 and the Price Control and Prevention of Profiteering and Hoarding Act, 1977.

Published in Dawn, May 9th, 2021

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