While the official per litre price of milk is fixed at Rs200, retailers charge Rs230 for one litre across the metropolis.—White Star
While the official per litre price of milk is fixed at Rs200, retailers charge Rs230 for one litre across the metropolis.—White Star

KARACHI: While the city administration on Tuesday fixed the retail price of fresh milk at Rs200 per litre, milk sellers on Wednesday continued to sell the commodity at Rs220-230 per litre, the rate prevailing in the city unofficially for the past 10 months.

The city administration had on Tuesday increased the official price of milk from Rs180 to Rs200 per litre, sending a wave of resentment among retailers.

The price of fresh milk was earlier fixed at Rs180 per litre in December last year, but the unrestrained dairy farmers continued to add to people’s miseries with increased price of the commodity.

Earlier in Nov 2021, the price of fresh milk was increased by Rs10 per litre from Rs130 but after much hue and cry by consumers, its retail price was fixed at Rs120 per litre in December 2021, but the city administration failed to enforce the officially notified price.

Retailers said that they were unable to sell fresh milk at the official rates because they were still getting milk from dairy farmers at higher rates as the administration had completely failed to enforce the official wholesale price of the commodity, which was fixed at Rs188 per litre.

A retailer told Dawn that the farm rate of fresh milk was still Rs7,340 per mound or 33.5 litres, while the wholesalers, acting as brokers between the dairy farmers and retailers, were supplying the commodity to milk shops at Rs7,910 per mound. “We are getting milk from wholesalers at the rate of Rs210.93 per litre”, he said, asking how was it workable for them to sell it at Rs200 per litre.

Meanwhile, the administration also launched a crackdown on milk retailers for selling the commodity at a price higher than what was officially notified.

Waheed Gaddi, media coordinator of the Karachi Milk Retailers Association (KMRA), condemned the action against retailers, terming it illegal and unjustified.

He said that the administration had completely failed to enforce the farm rate of fresh milk, but was targeting the retailers who were not getting the commodity at the officially fixed wholesale price of the milk.

Mr Gaddi said that the administration had imposed heavy fines of Rs50,000 and Rs100,000 on the retailers which was absolutely illegal. “Under the law, a profiteer could be fined Rs500 initially by the administration officer and a maximum fine of Rs30,000 can be imposed on repeated offence after a summary trial,” he added.

The KMRA spokesman said that at least half a dozen applications against illegal and unjustified fines imposed on the retailers were still pending disposal in courts.

He said that around 100 members of the managing committee of KMRA were in meeting to decide the next course of action against the crackdown as the retailers were compelled to increase the milk price due to an increase in the fares of the vehicles used for the transportation of milk and in the rates of dairy farm items. “But we have not compromised on the quality of milk,” he claimed.

However, people across the city complained that the quality of the essential commodity had been compromised after the administration’s action against the retailers.

A resident of the Gulshan-i-Iqbal said that now the milk she was getting was of poor quality and smelly. “There has to be some quality control check,” she demanded.

Sources in the administration said that the action against the profiteers would continue without any discrimination.

They said that strict action would also be taken against the shopkeepers selling poor quality milk.

The sources said that the teams of the Sindh Food Authority would conduct random raids at milk shops to ascertain the quality of the dairy products.

Published in Dawn, October 5th, 2023

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