LAHORE - Punjab Chief Minister Mian Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif has said that due to effective strategy and steps of the government, prices of edible items have been reduced.

He directed the Food Department officials and other concerned authority to take steps to maintaining the trend of reduction in the prices of essential items.

He also asked for taking strict action against the persons selling items at the rates higher than the fixed ones as such persons deserve no leniency. He said that the quality of flour should be ensured at every cost and the mills selling flour of poor quality should be sealed. He was presiding over a meeting to review the prices of essential items, here on Wednesday.

Provincial Ministers, Bilal Yasin, Raja Ashfaq Sarwar, Muhammad Shafiq, Dr. Farrukh Javed, Special Assistant Arshad Jatt, Members Assembly, Chief Secretary, Inspector General Police, Secretaries of the concerned departments and senior officials attended the meeting.

Chief Minister said that provision of quality daily use items to the people is the responsibility of the government and no negligence will be tolerated in this regard. 

He directed that effective steps should be taken for checking the sale of vegetables and fruit at higher rates.  He said that 141 Sastay Sahulat Bazaars have been set up for providing edible items to the people at cheaper rates where complaint centres have also been set up. He said that Punjab government has also activated helpline 0800-02345 for the convenience of the people where any citizen can lodge his complaint.

The Chief Minister directed that the complaints to be received on helpline should be redressed immediately and the concerned citizens should also be informed in this regard. He said that the Commissioners and DCOs should continue visiting Sastay Sahulat Bazaars and supervising the process of auctioning of items in the markets. He said that Members National and Provincial Assembly alongwith the administration should visit markets at 12 midnight for fixing the prices and also supervise the auctioning process next day.

Shahbaz Sharif directed that strict action should be taken against the concerned inspectors of City District Government for showing negligence in the provision of quality meat to the people and not taking action against the shopkeepers selling water injected meat.

He said that a comprehensive planning should be made regarding pulses.

The Chief Minister directed to also constitute a committee for considering the matter with regard to importing pulses keeping in view the future needs which will submit its final recommendations in this regard.

He said that the action taken against the corrupt officials of market committees has yielded positive results and the accountability process would also continue in future.

Shahbaz Sharif while directing to constitute committees at town level for reviewing the prices of essential items said that the performance of Price Control Magistrates should be monitored and inefficient Price Control Magistrates should immediately be transferred.

He said that increase in the  poultry prices will not be tolerated at any cost. He said that Provincial Ministers and concerned officials should hold dialogues with Poultry Association for stabilising the prices of poultry. 

The Chief Minister while directing to make Vegetable Market Kahna Kacha as a model market said that the latest facilities should be provided to the farmers at priority basis in this market and the rates of items should be publicised through digital technology.

He said that indiscriminate action should be continued against the petrol pump owners involved in overcharging as the elements looting the people cannot be spared at any cost.

Shahbaz Sharif said that flour bags of different colours with regard to quality and price should be prepared. He said that quality and price of flour should also be written on these bags prominently. Chief Secretary, Secretary Industry and other officials gave detailed briefings regarding supply, demand and prices of essential items during the meeting. 

Meanwhile, Shahbaz Sharif while strongly rejecting the proposal of any increase in the prices of flour bags of various brands and weight by Food Department due to new packing of flour said that he will not allow addition of even a single penny in the current price of flour.

He said that provision of relief to the people is responsibility of the government; therefore, no increase should be made in the price of flour due to its new packing.