RAWALPINDI: For the district administration, distribution of free wheat flour is the only solution to provide relief to those struck by poverty but it has turned a blind eye towards over-charging and violation of price lists by shopkeepers, for basic commodities.
Though, the district administration has fixed prices of meat, roti, rice, besin, vegetables, fruits and other edibles, shopkeepers have ignored it and charge what they want to and people have no other option but to buy edibles at rates fixed by shopkeepers.
According to an official list, the price of milk was fixed at Rs165 per litre but it is being sold at Rs200 per litre, curd was fixed to be sold at Rs170 but it is being sold at Rs220 in the market.
The price of mutton was fixed at Rs1,500 per kg but in the market, it is available at Rs1,800 per kg and beef at Rs750 per kg in the official figures but in the market, it is being sold at Rs900 per kg.
Roti in the market is available at Rs20 and naan at Rs25 but the administration issued rates of Rs15 for roti and Rs20 for naan.
The price of pulses mostly available in the wholesale market is above Rs400 per kg but the district administration has fixed the price at Rs285 to Rs365 per kg. Rice is available at Rs300 per kg.
Prices of basic commodities have witnessed an increase with each passing day over the past few months prompting numerous complaints from displeased consumers.
In all markets and bazaars, the district administration has issued an official price list but it has failed to ensure its implementation.
“The increase in prices of essential food items has forced people to queue up to get wheat flour from free distribution stalls as it has become difficult to manage the kitchen budget,” said Mohammad Rizwan Raja, a man standing in queue to get a wheat flour bag in Liaquat Bagh.
Nasir Hussain, a resident of Allahabad, said that the price of milk increased to Rs200 per litre and there was no check and balance.
“The government should bring down prices in the open market and end heavy profits being made by shopkeepers instead of establishing Ramazan bazaars.
The establishment of Ramazan bazaars has proved that the writ of the government in bazaars and the market could not be established,” said Anwar Mughal, a resident of Arya Mohallah.
“Is there any mechanism to implement the official rates of the government? Politicians and bureaucrats never go to bazaars for purchasing edibles so they would not understand the plight of the common man,” he said.
When contacted, a senior official of the district administration said that it was busy in free wheat flour distribution and all assistant commissioners and tehsildars were monitoring things.
However, he said the administration would ensure the sale of basic commodities at prices fixed by the government and would not spare those who violate the price list issued by the government.
He said the special price magistrates had been asked to visit markets and bazaars in the city and imposed fines on those who violate rules.
Published in Dawn, March 27th, 2023
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