RAWALPINDI: The Punjab government has failed to implement its directives to ensure the sale of imported sugar at Rs90 per kg and local sugar at Rs89.75 per kg in the retail markets as the commodity is selling at Rs145 per kg in the garrison city.
There are three rates of sugar in the city: Rs90, Rs85 and Rs145 per kg. Utility stores are selling the commodity at Rs85 per kg. The government provided sugar to dealers so the retailers could sell it at Rs90 per kg. However, in the open market it is available at Rs145 per kg.
A district administration spokesman claimed that imported sugar was selling at Rs90 per kg and local sugar at Rs89.75 per kg. He said there was sufficient stock in the market.
Due to different rates, the consumers continued shuttling from one shop to the other in search of sugar at the price announced by the Punjab government, but it is not available.
Retailers sell sugar at Rs145 per kg saying they are getting it at higher rate
“It has become our routine to search for shops selling sugar at the official rate. I bought it at Rs90 per kg from a grocery shop on Iran Road but the shopkeeper did not give more than one kg to each buyer,” said Mohammad Niaz, a resident of Sadiqabad, while talking to Dawn.
Abdul Rehman, of Tench Bhatta, said he visited three markets and finally got sugar at Rs85 per kg from a utility store. “There is no pack of five kg in any store or grocery shops,” he said
“Shopkeepers do not sell sugar at the official rate and simply make the excuse that they are getting the commodity at high rate. They always insist on charging Rs145 per kg despite the fact that the price of sugar has been fixed at Rs90 per kg by the Punjab government,” said Nisar Ali, a resident of Westridge.
When contacted, Pervaiz Saleem, the Rawalpindi Merchant Association president, said the government was giving sugar to two main dealers for onward supply to shopkeepers to sell it at Rs90 per kg.
However, he admitted that mostly bakeries, sweetshops and other outlets sent their people to these dealers to purchase sugar instead of common shopkeepers.
He said the price of a 50 kg bag of sugar provided by the government was Rs4,360 and that of the local sugar Rs7,250 per 50 kg bag. He said the sugar mafia increased the prices in the last a few days and the government had no control on it.
The dealers have now been asked to sell sugar directly to the consumers by installing counters at the main squares from Friday (today) at Rs90 per kg, he added.
On the other hand, shopkeepers said they were getting sugar in black as the commodity had vanished from the market. “As the dealer provided us two bags of 50-kg at Rs7,250 our daily need is four bags,” said Mohammad Anwar, a shopkeeper, at College Road.
He said due to the shortage, the dealers had increased the prices. The shopkeepers said GT Road was still closed at Wazirabad and sugar was supplied to the city through the motorway, increasing its price.
When approached, District Officer Industries Abdul Qadoos Toor said the government had sufficient stock of sugar and was providing 1,800 bags of 50 kg each to two main dealers on a daily basis.
He said grocery shop chains were provided imported sugar so they would sell it at Rs90 per kg. “We checked 500 shops where sugar is available,” he said.
“We will receive more than 8,000 bags tomorrow and it will be supplied to the market on Saturday, including other tehsils of the district. There will be no shortage next week,” he said.
Published in Dawn, November 5th, 2021