LAHORE- The provincial government, which is regularly highlighting its performance through front pages commercials regarding controlling of inflation, has totally failed to show its writ, as official price list is being implemented nowhere in open markets and retail bazaars of the provincial capital.
A survey conducted by The Nation, revealed that shopkeepers are openly violating the provincial food department price list and feel free to charge any price with their own will.
Though the lists were seen displayed almost at every shop yet it they were not being implemented anywhere in city.
According to the list, officially basmati rice rate has been fixed at Rs110/kg but it is being sold at least for Rs120/kg; rice 386 has been fixed at Rs65/kg but available at Rs90/kg; gram pulse rate has been fixed at Rs56/kg but its actual rate is being implemented in market at Rs72/kg; Mash pulse (washed) rate is fixed at Rs115 but available at Rs135/kg; Mash pulse (un-washed) rate is fixed at Rs105 but available at Rs130/kg; black chana is fixed at Rs50/kg but being sold at Rs75/kg; white chana is fixed at Rs65 but selling at Rs80/kg; Besan fixed at Rs58/kg but selling at Rs85/kg, Masoor Pulse fixed at Rs90/kg but selling at Rs120/kg; Moong pulse official rate is at Rs110/kg but selling at Rs125/kg, sugar rate is fixed at Rs54/kg but selling at Rs57/kg; yogurt rate is fixed at Rs65/kg but selling at Rs70/kg; Mutton rate is fixed at Rs500/kg but not available below Rs650/kg and beef rate is fixed at Rs250/kg but selling at Rs360/kg.
Shoppers are of the view that the price magistrates, who are responsible to keep vigilant on prices were not seen anywhere in any retail market and this apathetic behaviour of them was also leading to escalate prices of edibles.  They said that they are already affected with ever-increasing real inflation due to surge in petroleum and energy tariff and now also being hit by this artificial inflation due to administrative failure of the provincial government.
In the absence of any price control mechanism from wholesale market to end users, an item is sold at different rates. The seller sells it with a price their own will while the stockists also sell an item at different rates to different buyers.
Sharp increase was witnessed in the prices of most of the essential kitchen items due to post budget as well as Ramazan effects, including chicken, eggs, sugar, cooking oil and wheat flour, reveals the survey.
Traders in different markets said that skyrocketing increase was witnessed in price of live chicken due to non-availability of sufficient stock on the local markets. Chicken retailers stated that poultry production had reduced and thousands of birds had perished due to the certain reasons such as hot weather and long spells of power outages. They linked the price hike of poultry birds to the shortfall in the supply from the farms during the last few days.
Significant increase was also noted in the prices of other essential kitchen items due to the decision to increase general sales tax (GST) as 20-kilogram wheat flour bag was being sold at Rs 740 against Rs 720 reflecting an increase of Rs20 per bag, ghee was available at Rs190 after an increase of Rs5 per kg, rice price increased by Rs5 per kg and it was being sold at Rs 140-145 per kg, eggs by Rs5 from Rs 72 to Rs 80 per dozen, and sugar by Rs3 from Rs54 to Rs57 per kg.
On the other hand, prices of majority of perishable food items like vegetables and fruits remained stable while some of them witnessed decline in their prices last week as compared to the preceding week.  No change was noted in prices of mutton and beef as mutton was available at Rs650 per kg whereas beef was being sold at Rs340 per kg.
COMPARISON OF OFFICIAL RATES AND REAL PRICES
Items                                              Official Rates    Actual Prices
Basmati rice               Rs110/kg      Rs120/kg
Rice 386                    Rs65/kg        Rs90/kg
Gram pulse                Rs56/kg        Rs72/kg
Mash (washed)           Rs115/kg      Rs135/kg
Mash (un-washed)      Rs105/kg       Rs130/kg
Black chana               Rs50/kg         Rs75/kg
White chana              Rs65/kg         Rs80/kg
Besan                       Rs58/kg         Rs85/kg
Masoor Pulse             Rs90/kg          Rs120/kg
Moong pulse              Rs110/kg         Rs125/kg
Sugar rate                  Rs54/kg           Rs57/kg
Yogurt rate                 Rs65/kg            Rs70/kg
Mutton                       Rs500/kg           Rs650/kg
Beef                           Rs250/kg           Rs360/kg