RAWALPINDI: Naanbais in the garrison city have increased the price of Roti (bread) from Rs12 to Rs15 and are set to sell Naan at Rs20 instead of Rs15 in coming days.

The official rate fixed by the city district administration is Rs10 for Roti and Rs12 for Naan but the bakers increased the prices on their own citing the hike in the price of wheat flour and natural gas tariff.

The price of wheat flour has increased to Rs100 per kg which was earlier Rs95 per kg. Consumers do not use the wheat flour available at the subsidised rate due to its substandard quality.

“There is no district administration and the tandoor owners increased prices on their own. People were already facing difficulties due to the price hike and Roti is now available at Rs15,” said Nisar Malik, a resident of Arya Mohallah.

Farid Paracha, a resident of Iqbal Road, said that people mostly bought Roti from the market during the weekends but its price has now gone beyond their reach.

Mohammad Anwar, a labour in Raja Bazaar, said that it was difficult for people like him to afford buying Roti as the wages remained the same and prices of edibles were going up. He said he earned Rs500 to Rs700 daily that too depending on the availability of work and was left with no additional money due to the rising inflation.

Sajid Mehmood, a resident of Asghar Mall, said it was the duty of the local administration to ensure the official price list was displayed at all hotels and tandoors.

“The administration does not bother to visit bazaars and has given a free hand to the tandoor owners and others,” he said.

Kamran Ahmed, a resident of Nanakpura, said during his tenure as the Punjab chief minister, Shehbaz Sharif had installed mechanical tandoors which provided Roti at subsidised rates but the initiative was closed.

On the other hand, naanbais justified the increase in the prices of Roti and naan and said wheat flour price and gas tariff had increased manifold and they were unable to sell Roti at the price fixed by the district administration.

Shafiq Qureshi, President Naanbai Association, said that officials of the district administration had fixed the prices without consulting the main stakeholders and without a survey of the market.

He said a 79kg bag of wheat flour was available in the market at Rs7,000 while it was selling at Rs56,000 last month. The increase of Rs1,400 suddenly forced naanbais to increase the price of Roti, he said.

“We would increase the price of Naan from Rs15 to Rs20 in coming days as fine wheat flour has also become expensive. We submitted an application to the deputy commissioner before increasing the price of Roti but they did not listen to us,” he said.

He threaten to go on a strike if the government tried to take action against any tandoor owner over the price increase.

Published in Dawn, June 27th, 2022

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