By Khalid IqbalOctober 20, 2016Print : Islamabad
Utility Stores Corporation outlets
The state-run utility stores of twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad are on top of the list in selling sub-standard food items to public but authorities concerned are not taking this issue seriously. Despite several complaints lodged by consumers, the higher authorities have failed to stop sale of substandard food items.
Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has also expressed resentment over reports of non-availability of food items and their poor quality at the Utility Stores but situation remains the same.
USC at time was a ray of hope where poor could get some relief on food items but now consumers besides getting low quality food items are continuously deprived off of sugar, pulses, ghee/cooking oil etc for months. There was no sugar here at utility stores for more than six months while consumers were facing worst kind of shortage of pulses and other daily use items.
The Utility Stores Corporation (USC) General Manager (Sugar) Munir Ahmed told ‘The News’ that sugar would be available here at stores in some days. We wanted to provide sugar to consumers at lower prices than open market but mill owners were not ready to do so. “We have arranged sugar and public will be able to buy it from stores in a few days,” he claimed.
The Utility Stores Corporation (USC) General Manager (Procurement) Raja Muhammad Ejaz said that they are trying to provide all food items to public in good quality. “Sometime consumers face shortage of items as we do not want to provide food items of low quality. “It takes time to set rates with wholesalers,” he said. He also said that they are continuously monitoring low quality items at the stores.
According to official data provided by Utility Stores Corporation (USC) on condition of anonymity that in 2012 USC sale was Rs19 billion but in 2016 the sale was only Rs17.5 billion. First time, this public welfare department was showing loss of Rs1.5 billion.
“It was embarrassing for us that this public welfare department is going down and down which was due to non-professionalism that incompetent people are on key posts using flattery to get peter’s chair,” senior most officials of USC condition of anonymity told ‘The News’.
“We go to the USC outlets to buy quality items at reduced prices, but the majority of items are substandard," Fatima Bibi, a poor lady said. She said that USC is the last ray of hope for public but some officials are trying to destroy the department by selling low quality items.
Tanvir Ahmed Qureshi, a mediocre said that there was no sugar for more than six months here in state running stores. We are helpless to buy sugar in higher prices of Rs72 per kilogram in open market shops. What kind of benefit USC was providing us, he denounced.
Bushra Bashir a consumer said that she has stopped buying items from the USC outlets due to low quality. “I have complained again and again that substandard items are being sold in stores but nobody is taking any action,” she denounced. She has appealed prime minister to take action against incompetent and non-professional people who are on key posts and destroying the reputation of this public welfare department.