KARACHI - At least 55 regular utility stores, providing services to Karachiites, seem to have been insufficient to cater to the rush of buyers, especially for the purchase of subsidized items like sugar, flour and pulses during the holy month of Ramazan. The proportional price chart displayed at a utility store, situated on Jamshed Road showed the price difference of six items, being provided at subsidized rates. According to these prices, displayed in the chart, Ghee is being sold at Rs103 per kg against the open market rate of 125 per kg. The bag of 10kg wheat flour at Rs185 against its retail price of 325 10kg a bag in the open market, Dall Channa (pulse) is being sold at Rs78 against the open market price of Rs82 per kg, Basin at the price of Rs56 per kg against the retail rate of Rs60 per kg and the dates is being provided to the customers at the price of Rs44 per 500 gram pack against the retail price of Rs50. As Ramazan is set to begin today (Thursday), a large number of burqa-clad women were seen queued up for hours at various utility stores to purchase subsidized items. A woman who introduced her as Noor Jehan, a resident of Marten Quarter and mother of six children, told this scribe that the inflation had broken the backbone of the poor. I have been queuing up here for last three hours but in vein as the administration has closed the store due to power outages, she narrated, adding that though she saved some money on the purchase of some daily-use items it was still insufficient to fulfil the demands of the poor. The government should establish more utility stores to provide poor people with an opportunity to benefit from the subsidy being offered on various foodstuffs, she demanded. Asim Khan, who regularly visit the utility store, expressed that he was unemployed for the last two years while his wife was expectant mother, adding that his whole family confronted a hard time, especially they had to survive on little money therefore he was standing there for long hours. He said that he purchased all basic items from utility store and saved up to Rs1500 as the prices were lesser against the open market. He, however, seemed shaky about the quality of these items and said that the government should increase the subsidies on basic items and ensure its quality to facilitate the people from middle and lower middle classes. Adnan, an employer of the utility store, agreed that the Utility Store Corporations could not cater to the needs of all the 180 million population at a time. He, however, said that they were trying their best to serve the masses in a good manner. He pointed out that the dilemma was that everyone visited the utility store, wanted to purchase their desired groceries as soon as possible, adding that how it was possible everyone make buying at the store at a time. He said that many times there was law and order problem thats why the administration deployed cops to maintain law and order. It is to be noted that USC officials always make claims that the utility stores cater to the needs of 30 to 40 percent of the population across the country. However, no official was available for comment to verify these claims.