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July 12, 2019

People suffer as nanbais go on strike in Peshawar

Peshawar

July 12, 2019

PESHAWAR: Sufferings of people in the provincial capital multiplied and they had to run from pillar to post to get roti even on higher prices, as the nanbais (bread-bakers) went on complete strike on Thursday against the spiralling prices of flour, gas, electricity and other daily commodities.

Not even a single tandoor was open in the city, where there are more than 4,000 tandoors, resulting in serious hardships for people.

“The strike will continue. We will prefer to close our business if the government failed to accept our demands,” said Iqbal Yousafzai, president Nanbais Association, while talking to The News.

He said that they would take to the streets today (Friday) and stage a protest rally from Milad Chowk in the city towards the KP Assembly.

“Nobody from the government or even the district administration has made any contact with us so far,” he said.

He added that their demands were simple. The government should either bring down the prices of flour and other necessary items or allow nanbais to increase the price of the roti as per their convenience, he argued. Iqbal Yousafzai was of the opinion that the price of one sack of flour has gone up to Rs5,200 from Rs3,500, making it impossible for them to maintain the old price of rotis. At least Rs1000 have been increased in the prices of 85-kilogram sack of flour and Rs700 tax has been imposed on it, pushing its total price from Rs3,500 to Rs5,200. Similarly, the prices of gas and electricity have also gone several times high. Other items of daily use have also become costlier, he pointed out.

“In such a situation, it is not possible for us to continue our business on the same prices,” he said.

“It’s better to bake roti for our own children instead of other people. We can’t see our own kids starving. It’s a business of unbearable loss now,” he said.

He said that they were bound to buy things in the open market, while the prices of loaves of bread were being fixed by the district administration.

The administration should also arrange these necessary items on lower prices or it should allow us to fix a reasonable price for bread, he said. Owing to the strike of the nanbais, roti remained unavailable in the city. Some of the restaurants, which had stored rotis the previous day, were selling it at the rate of Rs20 per bread. Some of the restaurants were found bringing naans from Bara, Khyber Agency, and were selling one roti at Rs25 to Rs40.

“I got four [tortillas] from the Mehran Restaurant in the Khyber Super Market at Rs100,” said one Azeem Khan. The tortilla makers were making good use of the situation as the great rush was seen at their stalls. One roti, which is normally sold at Rs10, was available at Rs30 to Rs40 on Thursday.

A man, Yaseen Ahmad from Zaryab Colony said he had to go to Ghanta Ghar to get three rotis from an eatery.

“The eatery owner had stored the roti baked overnight and was selling it for Rs 20 whose actual price is Rs 10. This is the gift of ‘Naya Pakistan’,” he said sarcastically. People were seen even buying puris to meet their needs.

The halwais doubled the weight of the puri and sold it for up to Rs30 to meet the requirements of the citizens who were desperate to purchase the eatables. People were heard cursing the government. The strike, if continued, would worsen the situation as the people won’t be able to eat rice and slices anymore, said Khushal Khan, a resident of Faqirabad.

The government should sit with nanbais and redress their grievances so that the miseries of the masses could be mitigated, he added.

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