KARACHI - Utility stores have raised the prices of essential commodities on Sunday, the prices of cooking oil, flour and pulses soared up by Rs 20, Rs 20 and Rs 25-30 per kg respectively in the period of one week. Among the commodities, the prices of cooking oil and ghee during one week jumped up by Rs 20 and fixed at Rs 100 per kg as compared to Rs 80 recorded last week. Flour prices in utility stores increased by Rs 20 and reached to Rs 150 per 10-kg bag on Sunday as against Rs 130 witnessed last week. The prices of cooking oil and ghee have witnessed an increase of Rs 75 on per kg during last four months and now the prices of both items are touching Rs 140 per kg in open market. Dal Lal Masur was recorded at utility stores at Rs 66 per kg in April and is now available at Rs 104 per kg. Price of Dal Moong (Sabit) also soared as it is recorded at Rs 96 per kg as compared to April when it was available at Rs 70 per kg. The price of Channa Dal surprisingly remained unchanged at Rs 29 per kg. While one of the major factors of unchanged prices of Channa Dal and Dal Moong is import of such items from China, sources added. Prices of edible oil are likely to soar in coming days because of an increase in the price of palm oil in the international market, triggered by extraordinary Chinese purchases, sources anticipated. It may be noted here that more than 56 percent of Pakistan's cooking oil and ghee are made from palm oil and government is aiming to import 1.5 million ton cooking oil. Sources in utility stores said the stores were playing pivotal role to bring relief to the people of lower middle and poor class by providing significant discount in the prices of essential commodities as compared to the open market prices. But they showed their concerns that the numbers of utility stores are not sufficient to fulfil the demands of the people, while due to lack of supply difficult situation has gone from bad to worse. They said that all the utility stores of Karachi had been divided into two zones, each zone has equal quota of 10,000 bags of 10-kg flour bag on per day basis, which is unsatisfactory to meet the demands of the population of above 16 million people. They suggested the government should increase the flour share of each zone by up to 0.2 million bags to meet the growing demand.