LAHORE   -  The Punjab government intensified the crackdown on profiteers to ensure availability of essential commodities at fixed prices, arrested 194 persons and registered 188 cases in the province during the last one week. The price control magistrates imposed fine amounting to Rs 7.5 million on the violators.

This was explained at a briefing during a meeting on Sunday held under the chairmanship of the Punjab Chief Secretary to review the price control measures. The meeting reviewed the prices and availability of essential commodities, especially flour and sugar, in the province.

The chief secretary said that concrete steps were taken to overcome the price-hike as per the directions of the prime minister and punjab chief minister. He said that the Punjab government was giving a subsidy of billions of rupees on flour to provide relief to the common man.

The Chief Secretary directed the deputy commissioners to ensure the sale of imported sugar in the districts at the notified rates. He said that imported sugar would be available at Rs. 81 per kg in Sahulat bazaars and maximum at Rs. 84 per kg in the open market. He said that to ensure the availability of an abundant quantity of sugar at affordable prices, the imported sweetener was supplied to the districts as per their demand, adding that its benefit should reach the domestic consumers in any case.

The industries department officials briefed the meeting that essential items, including the flour and sugar, were available at discounted rates in the 369 Sahulat bazaars set up by the government in cities throughout the province. The officials said that the sale of imported sugar had started in Sahulat bazaars and retail shops in Punjab after the first consignment of 25,000 metric tonnes (MT) sent to the districts and 8,000 MT out of this quantity has been sold. The additional chief secretary (south Punjab), administrative secretaries of food and industries departments, commissioner Lahore, additional IG special branch, CEO Urban Unit and officers concerned attended the meeting. 

The divisional commissioners and deputy commissioners participated through video link.