RAWALPINDI: Prices of pulses, vegetable oil, wheat flour, chicken and other edible items have further increased due to the indifferent attitude of the district administration.

Moreover, there is a shortage of vegetable oil in the wholesale market and the commodity is being sold at Rs500 per kg.

Wheat flour of good quality is available at Rs90 per kg in chakkis (flour mills) while the 20kg bag of flour at government rate is available at Rs1,100.

Chicken live is selling at Rs285 per kg and meat at Rs427 per kg while eggs are available at Rs140 a dozen against the official price of Rs122 per dozen.

The prices of chickpeas, rice and pulses have increased by Rs20 to Rs30 per kg as shopkeepers do not follow the price list issued by the district administration.

Saleem Pervaiz, president Rawalpindi Retail Merchants Association, told Dawn that the price of vegetable oil had increased as there was a shortage of the product in the wholesale market.

“I have informed the Directorate of Industries about the shortage of vegetable oil, as it is available at Rs500 per kg and a five-kg pack selling at Rs2,500 in the market,” he said.

He said the price of sugar was stable as it is available at Rs90 per kg.

About wheat flour, he said people preferred good quality flour which was available at Rs90 per kg.

Talking about pulses, he said Dal Channa and chickpeas’ prices had increased ahead of Ramzan. He said mostly pulses were imported from abroad so the prices had increased manifold.

The district administration should ensure sufficient supply of all edibles in the markets after which the prices would be controlled, he added, adding shopkeepers were worried as the purchasing power of consumers had decreased.

On the other hand, people expressed their resentment over the situation and said the government should control prices of essential food items as it affected their kitchen budgets.

Mohammad Suhail, a visitor to Narankari Bazaar, said it was difficult for the citizens to manage their household budgets.

“Tariffs of electricity and natural gas have increased manifold and there is also a hike in prices of daily-use items. So how can the salaried class survive.”

Ahmed Khan, a resident of Arya Mohallah, said prices of the basic ingredients of food, including vegetable oil, red chilies and garlic, have also increased.”

Meanwhile, the district administration claimed that it launched an aggressive drive against the overcharging by shopkeepers.

A spokesman said teams conducted 5,211 raids in seven tehsils of the district to check profiteering last week and imposed over Rs352,250 fines on 578 shopkeepers while 24 shops were sealed.

He said the commissioner had instructed the officers concerned to visit markets on a daily basis and take strict action against profiteers to provide relief to the citizens.

Published in Dawn, March 14th, 2022

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