LAHORE/TOBA TEK SINGH: Caretaker Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi has announced reduction in transport fares as well as prices for essential commodities such as flour, ghee, chicken meat, pulses and sugar.

Speaking to the media at the Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce and Industries, he revealed that diesel bus fares would see a 10pc reduction while petrol bus fares would decrease by 15pc.

He said pulse prices would witness a decrease of Rs20 to Rs30 per kg while ghee price would be reduced by Rs15 per kg. Additionally, he added, chicken prices were expected to drop by 12 to 15pc while sugar price had been reduced from Rs180 to Rs145 per kg with ex-mill sugar priced at Rs133.

Mr Naqvi emphasized that this move was aimed at providing genuine relief to the people of the province. He expressed optimism about the strengthening economy and hinted at more positive developments in the near future, saying that the entire team had been tirelessly working to lower the prices of essential commodities with daily meetings convened by the chief secretary at 9:30am.

Mentions reduced rates of commodities, including pulses, ghee, chicken, sugar

Furthermore, he assured that the Punjab government would soon commence the release of wheat, leading to reduction in flour prices.

The caretaker CM lauded the swift response, stating that a 48-hour deadline for price reduction was met within eight hours. Mentioning Industries Minister SM Tanveer, he said the administration worked tirelessly to achieve the decrease in prices.

Mr Naqbi visited the Faisalabad Bus Station to inquire about fares. He said successful negotiations with transport owners led to a 10pc reduction in cargo fares, providing passengers with substantial savings. He reassured that efforts would be made to sustain these decreased prices while further reductions would be considered if petrol prices continued to decrease.

Responding to questions, he emphasized a commitment to fairness without depriving anyone’s rights. He highlighted a 35pc increase in salaries along with substantial promotions within the police force.

Earlier, CM Mohsin Naqvi, along with the Punjab Cabinet, visited the Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce and Industries and held meetings with delegations of the Flour Mills Association, Karyana Association Punjab and the bar association.

He deliberated the measures to lower flour prices in the wake of reduced petroleum prices during the meeting with the Pakistan Flour Mills Association. He emphasised the decrease in flour prices would substantially ease burden on the people.

The chief minister met the president and general secretary of the Karyana Association Punjab to discuss cost of pulses.

Mr Naqvi took note of the lawyers’ issues and pledged support for the establishment of a lawyers’ library.

He also presided over a meeting concerning the ongoing operation to curb electricity theft in Faisalabad.

The chief executive officer of the Faisalabad Electric Supply Company (Fesco) provided a comprehensive briefing on the progress of the operation.

The CM underscored the importance of continuing action against electricity theft without bias. He received briefings from the Faisalabad Division commissioner, RPO, DCs, and DPO.

DIRECTIVE TO DCs: The Punjab government has directed all the deputy commissioners (DCs) of the province to launch an operation in their respective areas to bring down the prices of essential commodities and transport fares after the reduction in rates of petroleum products.

Punjab Chief Secretary Zahid Akhtar Zaman had issued the instructions during a video link meeting of all DCs held at the Civil Secretariat on Tuesday.

The meeting reviewed the prices of food items in detail and decided to establish a fruit and vegetable market in Rawalpindi.

The chief secretary ordered that the direct benefit of drop in the oil prices should be passed on to the masses.

He said the cut in fuel prices would reduce the cost of transportation, adding that officers must ensure a significant cut in the rates of eatables and transport fares in proportion to the decrease in POL prices.

He also asked the DCs to notify the new slashed rates of food items and transport fares after consulting all the stakeholders. He said Special Branch and Urban Unit would continue performing duties of the monitoring regarding price control.

He said the DCs must supervise the auction process in the fruits and vegetable markets themselves and keep a close eye on the supply and demand along with the prices.

Industries Department Secretary Ehsan Bhutta briefed the meeting that due to the decrease in rates of petroleum products, the prices of commodities would start dropping in the next two to three days. Meanwhile, Lahore DC Rafia Haider directed a crackdown against artificial price hike and constituted a squad to monitor bidding in model bazaars/ markets.

The monitoring committees, led by price control magistrates, will visit the model bazaars and the ADCs and ACs will personally monitor the bidding process in the markets.

She said a plan was evolved to bring down the prices of poultry, fruits, and vegetables to control artificial inflation in the city and strict action would be taken against the traders involved in inflation.

She also directed the transporters to cut 15 per cent fare of non-AC buses operating in the city while goods transport should reduce 10pc fare.

She also directed to advertise old and new fares on all public places and goods transporters should also ensure anti-smog measures.

Multan Division Commissioner Aamir Khattak also held a meeting about reducing transport fares.

He gave an ultimatum to reduce transport fares by 10pc and said fares should be decreased in proportion to the reduction in the prices of petroleum products.

He asked the RT General Bus Stand secretary to improve the condition of the bus stand and facilitate the transporters.In Khanewal district, DC Wasim Hamid Sandhu presided over a meeting to bring down the prices of fruits. The DC directed the presence of market committees officials to supervise auctions.

Published in Dawn, October 18th, 2023

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