LAHORE: The Punjab government on Sunday decided to cut the rate of roti and naan and implement the decision immediately.

The decision was announced by Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz through her personal account on social media X (formerly twitter).

“Alhamdulillah, Punjab government has reduced the price of bread to Rs16 per loaf from today. I have directed all districts of Punjab and the departments concerned to ensure strict implementation of the decision. May Allah Almighty bring more ease in the lives of people,” reads her statement.

Acting upon the direction, deputy commissioner of each district, including Lahore, immediately issued a notification fixing the price of a 100 gram roti at Rs16 and of 120g naan at Rs20.

Though citizens have breathed a sigh of relief on the provincial government’s decision, the association of naan-bais/tandoorwalas has rejected it saying they have not been taken on board.

Punjab government slashes roti and naan rates

“There had been no coordination with us. The deputy commissioners issued the so-called notifications without taking us on board,” Naan-Bai Association president Aftab Gill tells Dawn.

“Perhaps, for the first time in history the stakeholders have been ignored before taking a decision on reducing prices of a commodity,” he laments, rejecting the notification.

He says that an application of his association has been pending with the DC office for the last two months seeking to increase the roti and naan prices keeping in view the rising costs of flour, gas and electricity.

Recalling that a former DC (Umer Sher) had earlier imposed such a unilateral decision in July 2022 only to be taken back when the naan-bais took out a rally up to his office, he says that they will repeat history if the authorities do not come up with a compensating formula for them.

Explaining that the government should offer them subsidy to cut the roti and naan prices instead of benefiting the consumers at the cost of the tandoorwalas, he threatens to shut down the tandoors if the government tries to forcibly impose the decision on them.

Responding to a query about likely cut in new wheat crop rates, he says that wheat flour is not the only input required to make bread. “The tariffs of gas, power and labour have also gone up adding to our production cost.”

Published in Dawn, April 15th, 2024

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