Shahbaz calls for keeping check on prices of essential items


LAHORE: Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has said that ensuring sale of quality essential items at reasonable prices and provision of relief to the people in terms of dollar’s devaluation is responsibility of departments concerned and no negligence will be tolerated in this regard.
Addressing the Provincial Price Control Committee meeting on Saturday, he said that the cabinet committee on prices would have to play its role more effectively for providing essential items at affordable rates to the masses.
Elected representatives, chief secretary, additional chief secretary, inspector general of police, and senior officials attended the meeting that lasted for about three hours. 
The chief minister said that fruits of devaluation of dollar against rupee and its positive impact on prices of essential items must trickle down to the people. He said that provision of the fruits of devaluation of dollar to the common man was a responsibility of departments concerned. The chief minister said that a weekly index survey be released after collecting authentic data in this connection.
He said that services of professionals be acquired for this process so that confidence of the people could be restored and performance of government institutions improved. 
The chief minister directed that process of auction in vegetable markets be monitored through CCTV cameras and that its live coverage be arranged through a local TV channel for the awareness of the people. 
Chief Minister Shahbaz also directed that cleanliness arrangements in vegetable markets should also be monitored through CCTV cameras. Besides, he said, a mechanism for displaying the prices of essential items on a website be evolved. 
He said that rate lists be displayed on shops at proper and conspicuous places for the awareness of consumers in order to curb overcharging. He ordered launching a crackdown on traders involved in overcharging and profiteering. The chief minister sought a report within seven days about number of persons arrested on charges of overcharging. 
The chief minister directed installing tamper-proof system for checking overcharging at petrol pumps and gas stations and sought a report within 14 days. 
He directed that strict action should be taken against owners of petrol pumps and gas stations involved in overcharging. He said that the cabinet committee should keep a vigilant eye on the prices of essential items and take immediate steps to bring the prices of potatoes down to a reasonable level. 
Chief Minister Shahbaz said that keeping the prices of daily-use items at reasonable level ahead of the holy month of Ramazan was imperative; therefore, departments concerned should start preparations from now onwards. 
He warned that the ministers and officers of the departments concerned would be held accountable in case of increase in the prices of essential items or shortage of any commodity during Ramazan. He directed that a detailed briefing regarding Ramazan Package should be arranged during next meeting of the committee. 
Participants of the meeting were informed that except for potatoes, prices of all edible items have remained stable recently, rather have decreased. 

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