ISLAMABAD, Aug 17: The government on Thursday informed the Senate that prices of edible items and construction material had increased by up to 116 per cent during the last seven years, exposing its failure in checking unprecedented price hike.

The information was placed before the Senate by Minister of State for Economic Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar in response to two different questions of ruling Pakistan Muslim League (PML) Senator from Sindh Nisar Memon.

According to the minister, there had been 103 per cent and 101.5 per cent increase in the prices of beef and mutton, respectively, during June 1999 to June 2006. During the same period, the price of Dal Mash went up by 116.6 per cent and that of Dal Masoor upto 18.5 per cent. She said beef was available for Rs53.59 per kg in 1999 which was now being sold at Rs108.78 per kg.

Similarly, the minister told the house that mutton was available for Rs101.55 per kg seven years ago which was now being sold for Rs204.03 per kg.

Interestingly, the official figures given by the minister do not match with the actual present prices of the items which is evident from the example of the prices of mutton and beef.

At present, beef is being sold for over Rs150 per kg and mutton for over Rs250 per kg in the markets of Rawalpindi and Islamabad.

Mr Memon had asked the minister to give the retail prices of the items of daily use between June 1996 and June 30 this year.

Ms Khar said the price of milk was Rs16.72 per litre in 1999 and it had now increased to Rs24.33 per kg, showing an increase of 45.5 per cent.

She said the price of Dal Mash was Rs69.37 per kg as on June 30, this year, whereas it was available for Rs32.02 per kg in 1999.

Similarly, giving statistics of the prices of construction material during the same period, Ms Khar said the price of cement was Rs234.08 per bag in June 2000 and it had reached Rs295.83 per bag in June this year.

According to the minister, the price of bricks (new first class) per thousand was Rs1,336.74 in 2000 and now it is Rs2,768.18, showing an increase of 107 per cent.

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