LAHORE  - To ensure the availability of essential commodities at the prices fixed by the government, a crackdown on profiteers is underway in the province and during the current month 47 persons were arrested, and 42 cases were registered, besides the imposition of a fine of about Rs 6 million on violators. This was stated during a briefing at a meeting chaired by Provincial Industries Minister Mian Aslam Iqbal at Chief Secretary’s Office on Sunday. The Chief Secretary Punjab, administrative secretaries of relevant departments including Food, Agriculture and Industries, CEO Urban Unit and Commissioner Lahore Division attended the meeting, whereas all the Divisional Commissioners participated through video link. 

The meeting reviewed the prices and availability of essential commodities, especially flour and sugar, performance of Price Control Magistrates, and strategy to contain prices of eatables.  The meeting decided to take unconventional and innovative measures to overcome the issue of price-hike.

Speaking at the meeting, the Provincial Minister said that providing relief to the common man was the priority of the government and no compromise could be made on this important issue. 

He said that the administrative officers would have to ensure the implementation of the fixed rates. He directed that the prices of vegetables and other commodities including tomatoes and onions should be closely monitored and the Agriculture Department must play an active role in ensuring the availability of these items.

The Chief Secretary said that as per the directions of the Prime Minister and Chief Minister Punjab, steps would be taken under a comprehensive strategy to tackle the problem of artificial price-hike, adding that no laxity on part of government officials would be tolerated in this regard. He ordered the officers to step up crackdown on profiteers, hoarders and those creating artificial dearness across the province.

The Chief Secretary directed that in order to ensure the availability of flour at fixed prices, the process of supply of subsidized government wheat to the flour mills, its grinding, and supply in the market be fully monitored and action be taken against the mills which do not use for grinding whole wheat provided to them under the government quota. He also issued instructions regarding the display of rate lists at shops and utilizing services of Tiger Force for price control.