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January 14, 2021

Shortage of subsidised ‘ghee’, ‘atta’ leaves public in a lurch

Islamabad

January 14, 2021

Islamabad : Although the sitting government has announced subsidy on basic commodities like ‘atta’ and ‘ghee’, however, it is both these necessary kitchen items people have to run after thanks to the apathy of mafias who are not letting the people breathe a sigh of relief during high inflation ratio in the country amid the outbreak of the second wave of coronavirus illness, called COVID-19.

The government had directed USC to sell a 20-kilogram ‘atta’ (flour) bag at Rs800 but the commodity was not available here at stores for over 40 days while subsidized ghee brands other than the USC’s own product were available at Rs170 per kilogram.

The consumers are buying a 20-kilogram ‘atta’ bag at Rs860 to Rs1150 while ghee at Rs262 per kilogram from the open market.

The consumers have been facing the absence of flour at the Utility Stores Corporation (USC) outlets for over 40 days, as the mill owners have stopped ‘atta’ supply to USC on subsidised rate of Rs800 for a 20-kilogram bag. The consumers have no other option but to purchase expensive ‘atta’ bags selling at different prices between Rs860 to Rs1,150 from the open market.

Similarly, consumers are wandering here and there in search of subsidized ghee from utility stores selling at Rs170. In absence of subsidized ghee in USC, poor consumers are helpless to buy expensive ghee selling at Rs262 per kilogram.

The managers of different stores on condition of anonymity said that thousands of consumers are visiting stores asking for subsidized ‘atta’ and ‘ghee’ but they could not do anything. They also said that subsidized ‘atta’ was not available for over 40 days while ‘ghee’ was not available for over 10 days.

The reliable sources said that flourmill owners have stopped subsidized ‘Atta’ supply and demanded to increase prices to Rs850 against Rs800 for a 20-kilogram bag. They have threatened to stop the supply of subsidized ‘atta’ to USC if the government did not increase the price of the commodity as per their demands.

The sources also said that the mafia wanted to provide maximum financial benefits to other ghee and cooking oil brands therefore they stopped supply of subsidized ghee. ‘Mafias’ once again won and different ghee brands increased prices by Rs22 to Rs27 per kilogram some two days back, the sources disclosed.

The Utility Stores Corporation (USC) Official Spokesman Zakki Abbas told ‘The News’ that the department was facing the demand and supply issue of subsidized items. Secondly, dozens of vehicles coming from far-off areas failed to reach due to Hazara Community protests in several cities therefore stores faced shortage, he said. He also said that we are supplying subsidized ‘atta’ bags to all stores on daily basis.

Talking to ‘The News’, consumers standing in long queues said that subsidized ‘atta’ and ‘ghee’ was not available in stores for the past many days. “We are visiting the stores on regular basis to buy subsidized ‘atta’ and ‘ghee’ from USC outlets but have to return empty-handed, they denounced.