Saturday June 03, 2023

Public demands subsidy on all kitchen items in open market instead of free flour

March 20, 2023

Rawalpindi: The downtrodden residents of Rawalpindi and Islamabad have appealed to the government to provide all food items including flour at cheaper prices at all retail shops during Ramazan, whereas, they have termed getting free of cost flour nothing but an ordeal as several men and women and even children received severe injuries.

They questioned that getting subsidized flour bags was a hard task for them and questioned what system the government will implement to manage this herculean task. Social media activists have viral videos where needy people get flour bags without money but pay a big cost in the shape of injuries.

Reportedly, several European and Asian countries have announced to cut down prices of all food items by 70 per cent during the holy month of Ramazan. The UAE also cut down prices by 70 per cent in the holy month of Ramazan and provided big relief for the public.

But here in Pakistan, profiteers and hoarders have been flexing their muscles to loot the public with both hands during Ramazan.

‘The News’ interviewed people belonging to different walks of life and in their appeals, they asked the government to provide all food items at cheaper prices in retail shops where the public could purchase them easily. Government should cut down prices of ghee/cooking oil, rice, sugar, red chili, drinks, mutton, beef, chicken, pulses, basin, onion, potato, roti, milk, yogurt, and fruits by at least 50 per cent in the holy month of Ramazan. Not only ‘Atta’ but all other items were necessary for the public, people demanded. Yasmeen Zafar, a housewife said that she had to wait in a long queue for a subsidised ‘Atta’ bag but yet failed to purchase it. If the government really wants to provide some relief to the public, it should provide all items in retail shops at cheaper prices. “We are already getting subsidized ‘atta’ at cost of our dignity and how we could get free of cost flour bags with respect,” she bemoaned.

Muhammad Owais, standing in a long queue said that the back of a poor man has already been broken due to ever-increasing inflation. “Government is only making castles in the air rather to make and implement a proper plan to provide relief to a common man. There is no subsidized flour bag in retail shops. A poor man will waste his maximum time to purchase a bag of subsidized ‘atta’, he strongly protested.

Noureen Bhatti, a working lady said that government should consider the problems of poor people that how a poor man leads his life in this situation. The Public wants strong planning to end the monopoly of profiteers and hoarders, she said.

‘The News’ conducted a survey of weekly bazaars where one-kilogram ghee and cooking oil was selling at Rs650 to Rs700 and flour bag (without subsidy) was selling at a price ratio of Rs1800 to Rs2800 per kilogram on Sunday. Similarly, one kilogram of potatoes was selling at Rs60 against Rs30, tomatoes at Rs100 against Rs50, onions at Rs150 per kilogram, ginger at Rs600, and garlic at Rs400 per kilogram.

The milkmen have increased prices of milk and yogurt on their own and selling one litre of milk from Rs180 to Rs200 and yogurt from Rs200 to Rs220.

The butchers are already looting the public with both hands and now selling one-kilogram mutton at Rs1800 to Rs2000 and beef at Rs900 to Rs1000. Interestingly, local management seems to be in deep slumber in this situation and is least bothered to resolve public-related issues.

Muhammad Rashid, Zaf­ar Iqbal, Javed Iqbal, Shazia Murad, Muhammad Azam, Naveed Butt, and several others have also appealed to the government to cut down prices of all items in the holy month of Ramazan rather provide limited flour bags free of cost.