LAHORE: The Lahore High Court has expressed serious dismay over the government’s failure to present a mechanism to control prices of sugar and other essential items.

“Nothing substantial has been brought before this court except saying that they are working to make a mechanism to control prices. No time frame or steps for the mechanism have yet been brought to this court,” Justice Shahid Jamil Khan observed in an order issued about Friday’s hearing on petitions relating to the price of sugar.

The petitioners, the sugar mills, questioned the government’s act of selling sugar lifted on the court’s order in Ramazan bazaars without any legal authority.

The judge, however, noted that the government put the sugar for sale in the Ramazan bazaars due to shortage of the commodity at fixed price of Rs85 per kg in retail market. The judge observed that the court was mindful of restraining the government from selling the sugar lifted on its order in the Ramazan bazaars, however, postponed it on the request of the advocate general of Punjab and undertaking by the secretary industries and the commissioner that a mechanism for selling essential items on the fixed and subsidized rate shall be submitted before the next hearing.

Lahore Commissioner retired Capt Muhammad Usman assured the court of completing the proposals for framing the rules under the law and mechanism thereunder for lifting of essential items from mills till delivery to the retail outlets.

The judge directed the commissioner to apprise the court of existing administrative structuring for controlling prices of essential commodities. The judge will resume hearing on May 21.

Published in Dawn, May 9th, 2021

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