10 shopkeepers arrested, heavy fine imposed

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High pricing, sale of substandard items continues

Zubair Qureshi

Islamabad—A team of the district administration on Friday raided a number of food outlets in Karachi Company (G-9/4) and I-8/4 and imposed heavy fine on the shopkeepers for selling substandard items during the holy month of Ramazan.
A number of arrests were also made during the raid. Additional Deputy Commissioner (General), ADCG Abdul Sattar Isani was leading the raiding team of the district administration that comprised Assistant Commissioners Jawwad Muzaffar, Dr Hassan Cheema and Shoaib Ali, police officials of the relevant police stations and officials of the district administration. The team also monitored the milk and yogurt shops in the G-9/4 and G-10/4 and found the shopkeepers selling milk Rs10 higher than the market rate.
The tam imposed Rs40,000 fine on the shopkeepers of the G-10/4 sector. In Karachi Company around ten shopkeepers were arrested for selling food items higher than the prescribed rates. In the sector around 40 shops and outlets were inspected and the a total of Rs100,000 fine was imposed on those selling their things at a higher rate. Five fruit sellers were also arrested. Meanwhile, the citizens of the federal capital have termed these raids on various markets only cosmetic acts without making any real difference.
“From one market or the other, a number of shopkeepers were picked but they will return the next day after getting bail or having things settled with the local police and the vicious circle of high pricing and sale of substandard things will resume once again,” said Muhammad Altaf a retired CDA official who has been living in Islamabad for four decades.
A number of consumers also echoed Altaf’s concerns and Pakistan Observer also witnessed the upward trend in markets. The price of gram flour (baisin), for instance, has touched new peak of Rs120 from Rs90-93 per kg last month owing to its rising demand ahead of Ramazan. Among other commodities, prices of fruits, vegetables, sugar, pulses and rice also witnessed an increase.
The price list issued by the District Administration, which is effective from June 6-21 June, 2016, carries the gram flour retail price of Rs58 per kg. Last month, gram pulse was available at Rs85 per kg which rose to Rs90 per kg in May and since then it maintains an upward trend. Now gram pulse rate hovers between Rs100 and Rs110 per kg in various areas but the commissioner is forcing the retailers to sell it at Rs58 per kg. Sugar price now ranges between Rs62 and Rs64 per kg as compared to Rs60 per kg last month.
The current official rate of sugar is Rs61 per kg. Kabuli channa white and black are priced at Rs100 and Rs120 per kg as compared to their control rate of Rs75 and Rs55 per kg, respectively. Last month these items were available below Rs100 per kg in retail. Syrups and juices, which are widely used in Ramazan, are being sold in black, and consumers are paying Rs10 more on various brands. Retailers said the companies have not increased prices but due to tight supply and high demand, wholesalers are demanding higher rates.

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