Islamabad—Outlets of the Utility Stores Corporation (USC) of twin cities, witnessed a virtual frenzy of consumers at the advent of holy month of Ramazan for buying essential items at discounted prices.
The government had announced Rs 1.75 billion subsidy on 22 items, to be available at all outlets of USC across the country, in order to facilitate people during the holy month.
The items included wheat flour, cooking oil, Ghee, sugar, pulses, gram, gram flour, dates, rice, beverages, tea, and syrups, etc.
The substantial decrease in prices of essential items under the Ramazan Package of the government has attracted crowds of buyers, especially from the middle- and lower-middle income group who were out to buy specially wheat flour, sugar, Ghee, cooking oil and gram flour.
People, specially for lower income group, have appreciated the government for announcing a Ramazan Package of Rs.1.75 billion for providing relief to the people specially the common man.
Manager of Utility Super Store, G-9 Markaz, Anwar Zaib told media that the sale of the store, had witnessed over 500 per cent surge after the implementation of Ramazan Package.
He said that arrangements had been made to provide the discounted items to the people throughout the holy month of Ramazan.
“There will be no shortage of goods at the stores in Ramazan,” he added.
However, a buyer at a utility store in Sadiqabad area of Rawalpindi told this scribe that sugar was not available at the store which was the main kitchen item during Ramazan.
When the manager of the branch was asked about the shortage of sugar, he said that 25 bags, each containing 50 kilogram of sugar, was unloaded in the Wednesday morning but due to high demand, the stock was sold within 3 hours.
Under Ramazan Package utility Ghee, oil is available from Rs 115-125 per kg, compared to 125-175 per kg market prices, Dall Channa is being sold at Rs 120 per kg compared to 150-160 per kg in the open market, Dall Moong (washed) on Rs 148 per kg compared to Rs170-180 per kg while Dall Mash (washed) is available on Rs 273 per kg compared to Rs 280-290 per kg in the market.
Similarly, Dall Masoor is being sold at Rs115 per kg compared to Rs160-180 per kg in the market, white gram at Rs115 per kg compared to Rs160-180 per kg in the market, gram flour at Rs120 per kg against Rs155-160 per kg, black gram at Rs 110 per kg against Rs140-145 per kg, Sella broken at Rs40 per kg compared to Rs55-60 per kg whereas mash shell per kg is available at Rs258 compared to Rs270-280 per kg.
Likewise, Masoor (whole) is being provided at Rs120 per kg against Rs145-155 per kg, dates at Rs.160 per kg against 200-240 per kg, Rice (super basmati) at Rs 72 per kg against Rs 80 to 100 per kg, rice (super sella) at Rs72 per kg against Rs80-100 per kg, broken rice is available at Rs48 per kg against Rs55-60 per kg, squashes and syrups (1500ml) at Rs.265 against Rs295, squashes and syrups (800ml) at Rs152 against Rs170, black tea at Rs.603 per kg against Rs.690 per kg, milk (tetra pack) at Rs. 102 liter kg against 110 per liter while all USC spices are available on 10 percent discount.
Meanwhile, Minister for Industries and Production, Ghulam Murtaza Jatoi in a statement said that the subsidy package of USC was an effort to frustrate designs of some elements who are involved in raising the prices of commodities during the holy month.
He said that the government was committed to providing relief to the people, adding that the Ramzan Package had been initaited by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif back in 1990s and was followed by the successive governments.
The minister said that he would personally visit USC outlets to addresses certain issues and specific grievance of the public in terms of quality and cost of USC items.
The Minister asked media persons that to bring it to his notice any complaint regarding the prices and quality of items at the USC outlets for immediate action.