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January 21, 2020

People suffer as nanbais observe strike


January 21, 2020

PESHAWAR: The nanbais here on Monday observed strike in the provincial capital to force the government to issue a new rate list after the increase in the prices of wheat flour.

The Nanbais Association General Secretary Abdul Majeed Qureshi told The News that the protest would continue till the government accepted their demands.

He said that rumours were circulating that the government intended to launch a crackdown against them.

However, he maintained that the government had rendered them jobless and the crackdown could not deter them from demanding their due rights.

He claimed that officials of the district administration tried to persuade the nanbais to open

businesses by claiming that no action would be taken against them for selling 100 gram roti for Rs10.

“It is very strange that the Peshawar district administration had refused to accept our demand when we demanded issuance of notification of 115 gram roti for Rs10,” he added.

He said the strike would be extended to the entire province if the government did not accept their demands.

The district administration officials could not be contacted despite making attempts to seek their comments.

They had earlier held talks with the representatives of the Nanbais Association without reaching a solution.

Both sides stuck to their stance which made it difficult to make a breakthrough. The government also tried to make available flour to ease the pressure.

With the nanbais going on strike, the miseries of the residents in suburban areas of Peshawar multiplied as they also faced acute gas and electricity loadshedding so they could not prepare bread at home.

In rural Peshawar and even in many homes in city localities, women make bread for the family so they managed to cope with the crisis.

One Safiullah, a resident of the Ring Road, said that people bought roti from the market due to gas loadshedding in their locality but the strike had added to their woes.

“We are compelled to either buy the bread at inflated prices or cook it using firewood,” he complained.

A nanbai, Muslim Khan, said that they could not sell roti for Rs10 due to the rise in the price of flour.

He said that it was not only the flour price that had gone up but their utility bills had also increased manifold during the last few months. “Even if the flour price had not increased, selling roti for Rs10 caused loss to them,” he argued.

In Hayatabad, Peshawar the strike by the nanbais was complete. Buyers returned empty-handed as they searched for rotis. Many made arrangements to buy gas cylinders or firewood so that their women could bake rotis at home.

The owners of restaurants in Peshawar bought bread from other cities to serve their customers. However, they were selling one roti for Rs20 and in some areas for Rs30.

A small scale restaurant owner Gharib Gul told this scribe that he was unable to provide roti to his customers for Rs10 as he had bought it from another city and had to bear the transportation cost.

He said he had brought the bread from Nowshera. Also, with the nanbais on strike, the roadside tortilla sellers started selling it for Rs30 keeping in view the demand.