LAHORE: On the direction of the Prime Minister, the Punjab government has intensified the ongoing crackdown on profiteers and hoarders across the province during the current month, arresting 49 persons, lodging 68 FIRs and imposing fines of Rs23.8 million on shopkeepers for overcharging consumers.
The authorities also recovered thousands of kilograms of hoarded sugar, rice, flour and ghee in different cities.
According to a report presented at a meeting held at the Civil Secretariat to review price control measures, officials seized 10,594 sacks of sugar, 2,367 sacks of rice, 20 sacks of wheat, 1,537 bags of flour, 1,393 litres of cooking oil and 5,770 kg of stored ghee during the action against hoarders.
According to the report, the authorities found 41 wholesalers involved in hoarding and sealed 13 warehouses in raids carried out at 1,247 places in Bahawalnagar, Bahawalpur, Rahim Yar Khan, Dera Ghazi Khan, Faisalabad, Jhang, Toba Tek Singh, Gujrat, Sheikhupura, Attock, Mianwali, Sargodha and Bhakkar.
The meeting chaired by Provincial Minister for Agriculture Hussain Jahanian Gardezi reviewed the prices and availability of commodities in markets and decided to take special measures to improve the supply of sugar.
The chief secretary Punjab, administrative secretaries of Industries and Agriculture departments, Commissioner Lahore Division and officers concerned attended the meeting whereas the divisional commissioners and deputy commissioners participated through a video link.
Speaking at the meeting, Hussain Jahanian Gardezi said that all possible steps would be taken to provide relief to the common man during the holy month of Ramazan.
He directed that quality and supply of the edibles be closely monitored along with the prices of commodities. He said that proper planning was essential, keeping in view the demand and supply of goods.
The chief secretary said that as per the directions of the Prime Minister and Chief Minister Punjab, the availability of daily-use items at fixed rates would be ensured. He directed the Livestock Department to play its role in controlling the prices of poultry. He directed the officers that those fleecing people by creating an artificial shortage of goods be dealt with iron hands.
The chief secretary also directed the deputy commissioners to seek help from the data about Mandi App to determine the uniform prices of vegetables and fruits in the districts.
The secretary industries briefed the meeting on the trend and availability of food items, including flour, sugar, vegetables, ghee and poultry. He said that complaints on the Qeemat App were being redressed timely and 96 percent of the complaints received this month had been disposed of.