906 held in anti profiteers drive Aslam Iqbal says Rs70m fine imposed on shopkeepers

Staff Reporter

Punjab Minister for Industries and Trade Mian Aslam Iqbal has said that in line with the directives of the Prime Minister Imran Khan, the provincial govt has continued a vigorous crackdown on profiteering and hoarding across the province.

During the crackdown, 906 profiteers were arrested and 971 cases were registered against those found overcharging during the past two months.

The authorities also imposed fine worth Rs70 million on shopkeepers for overcharging consumers.

Punjab Minister for Industries and Trade Mian Aslam Iqbal was speaking at a meeting held here on Sunday to review the price control measures.

Punjab Agriculture Minister Hussain Jahanian Gardezi, Punjab Chief Secretary Jawad Malik, administrative secretaries of departments of industries, food, and agriculture, CEO Urban Unit, Commissioner Lahore Division, director food, deputy commissioner Lahore and officers concerned attended the meeting while divisional commissioners and deputy commissioners participated through video link.

The meeting reviewed the prices and availability of essential commodities, besides contemplating various options to control the hike in prices of sugar and cooking oil/ghee.

Speaking at the meeting, Mian Aslam Iqbal said that the Punjab government is giving a subsidy of billions of rupees on flour to provide relief to the common man. He said that due to government initiatives, a bag of 20 kg flour is available at a fixed price of Rs. 860 everywhere in the province. He said that it is necessary to regulate the supply chain of essential commodities to control price-hike.

Hussain Jahanian Gardezi said that agriculture is the backbone of the country’s economy, adding that production capacity can be increased by using modern technology and providing incentives and facilities to farmers.

He directed the relevant departments to start planning for the demand and supply of commodities, keeping in view the arrival of Ramzan.

The Chief Secretary said that as per the directions of the Prime Minister and the Chief Minister of Punjab, steps are being taken to ensure the availability of essential items at fixed rates.

He directed the administrative officers to perform their duties actively to check profiteering and hoarding.

He said that the main reason for the clear difference in prices of fruits and vegetables in different districts is the outdated system of the auction in agricultural markets.

The chief secretary mentioned that for effective control of prices of agricultural commodities, end of the monopoly of commission agents, and encouragement of farmers, the system of agricultural markets is being modernized.

He said that to limit the role of middlemen, farmers would be given direct access to consumers.

He said that the ‘mandi app’ has been introduced to monitor the difference in prices of agricultural commodities, auction process, demand, supply, and to ensure uniform pricing in districts.