KARACHI: The local administration of the city informed the Sindh High Court on Thursday that a meeting with all stakeholders would be held on June 22 to determine the price of fresh milk or to establish milk markets to fix milk price daily through open auction.
A report filed on behalf of the Karachi commissioner further said that the supply and prices department had been asked to conduct a survey about the cost of products, services and utilities required for the production of milk and also compare rates of other major cities before the meeting.
In the last hearing, an additional commissioner had sought time to propose mechanism to resolve the controversy regarding fresh milk price after taking all the stakeholders on board and to submit a progress report about the mechanism of milk price.
On Thursday, an assistant commissioner filed the report on the commissioner’s behalf and it contended that a meeting would be held in the commissioner office to fix a rational and judicious price of milk or to establish markets for holding open auction of milk daily.
‘Raids on profiteers failed to achieve concrete results’
Apart from dairy farmers, wholesalers and retailers, representatives of the consumer rights organisations have also been invited to attend the meeting, it maintained.
The report further said that alternatively, the second proposed mechanism was not to fix the price of milk but to establish specific registered wholesale milk markets and such markets would be notified/registered by the provincial agriculture department in consultation with the stakeholders to carry out daily auction proceedings where all businessmen/retailers could participate in open auction in a competitive environment.
It contended that despite raids on profiteers under the Sindh Essential Commodities Price Control and Prevention of Profiteering and Hoarding Act, 2006, no concrete results had been achieved as the law did not prescribe forcible fines and punishments.
It further submitted that in 2015, the SHC had barred the district administration of Karachi from exercising the powers enshrined under the Price Control and Prevention of Profiteering and Hoarding Act, 1977 and directed it to initiate proceedings under the Act of 2006.
The city administration requested the SHC to allow them to exercise the powers under the Act of 1977.
Earlier, an additional commissioner submitted that the wholesale rate of fresh milk was fixed at Rs88.5 whereas the retail price was set at Rs94 per litre in 2018, but the milk sellers were also complaining that the wholesale rate was much higher than the price fixed for retailers and thus it was not possible to sell milk at Rs94 per litre.
A petition was filed against the provincial and local administrations as well as the Sindh Food Authority for not ensuring the sale of fresh milk on notified prices in the provincial metropolis.
The petitioner contended that the official price of fresh milk was fixed at Rs94 per litre in the provincial metropolis, but it was being sold at around Rs140 per litre in different parts of the city in violation of the notified rates and the respondents had failed to enforce the official price.
Published in Dawn, June 11th, 2021