The withdrawal of special subsidy on various food items at the Utility Stores and their franchises by the federal government has caused great decline in the number of buyers at these points.

The managements of the utility stores said that after the withdrawal of special subsidy on several food items, the buyers were reluctant to visit the utility stores. They said that there was no significant difference in the prices of the daily-use commodities available at the markets and utility stores.

They said that early restoration of subsidies by the federal government could help provide some financial relief for the perturbed people, besides, saving the utility stores from the financial crisis.

Talking advantage of the situation, the shopkeepers in the markets are offering about 2 to 3 percent discount on almost all the items to lure the customers here. The offer is keeping the people away from the utility stores and their franchises, which offer no discounts now. According to the officials concerned, there are total 155 utility stores and their 20 franchises in Gujranwala Division.

TAX PAYMENT: As many as 63,000 taxpayers have yet to deposit their annual tax returns in Sialkot and Gujranwala while the final deadline ended on January 31.

The FBR had given special targets of collecting 73,000 tax returns (40,000 for RTO Gujranwala and 33,000 for RTO Sialkot) to RTOs in Sialkot and Gujranwala till January 31, 2016. Now, these RTOs have failed to achieve the target despite claiming making an all-out effort in this regard.

The Federal Board of Revenue said 29,000 taxpayers have submitted their annual tax returns at Regional Taxation Office (RTO) Sialkot (comprising Sialkot, Narowal and Gujrat district) against its fixed target of 33,000 tax returns collection. However, 33,000 tax payers have submitted their tax returns at RTO Gujranwala (comprising Gujranwala, Hafizabad and Mandi Bahauddin districts) against its fixed official target of 40,000 tax returns.

Indian anti-tank mine found, defused :

A bomb disposal squad defused a high intensity anti-tank mine found in the local fields near far-off bordering village Phookaliyaan-Bajwat.

Local people found it while ploughing the fields and they informed the police about it. The officials said that the landmine was Indian made. It was rusting weighing 10 pounds. They said that it was used by India during the 1965 War, which could not explode and was still alive. It was defused averting the area from heavy disaster.