The Price Control Cabinet Committee paid visits to various bazaars and markets here on Saturday to check the prices and availability of the essential commodities.

The committee comprising Food Minister Bilal Yasin, Punjab Chief Secretary Naveed Akram Cheema, Punjab IGP Khan Baig and Secretary Industries Irfan Ali went to Model Bazaar Jhang Road, Sahulat Bazaar, Faizan-e-Madina Chowk and Susan Road to inspect the arrangements made by the district administration for provision of vegetables, fruit, pulses, flour, sugar and other grocery items for the public at controlled prices.

The committee members checked the quality and stock of the edibles in these bazaars and compared the prices with those at wholesale and general markets. They directed the divisional and district administration that fair profit be allowed keeping in view the daily wholesale prices of the vegetables and fruit. They said that the wholesale prices of pulses, rice, sugar, chillies, spices and other items be reviewed on daily basis and keep a vigilant eye on demand and supply as a proactive approach so that timely measures could be taken to avoid shortage.

Speaking to the media, the Punjab food minister said that comprehensive mechanism had been devised to keep the prices of essential items under controlled by the Punjab government under the vision of Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif. He said that market committee system had been revamped by introducing various reforms and corrupt officials of market committee had been removed for maintaining good governance in the department.

He said that timely measures had been taken to control price hike. The minister maintained that the process of auctions in fruit and vegetables markets was being supervised by the district and divisional administration thus unjustified hike in prices has been controlled. He vowed that a comprehensive mechanism would be followed in letter and spirit to check the prices of essential goods on regular basis for providing relief for the masses. He said that hoarders and profiteers of essential items would not be spared at any cost for which the price control magistrates had been mobilised to take action against the unscrupulous elements and their performance was also being checked daily.

The members of Punjab Cabinet Committee also visited Jhang bazaar to check the prices at shops. They went to different shops and checked the price lists. They asked the shopkeepers about the justification of prices fixed by the district administration and its implementation.

Earlier, they were briefed by Divisional Commissioner Sardar Akram Javed and DCO Noorul Amin Mengal about the measures taken for controlling the prices of essential goods. The commissioner said that the prices of different items of daily use had been notified by the district administration after consultation with traders and consumers. He said that 152 price control magistrates in the four districts of the divisional had been assigned with duties to check the specified markets on daily basis. He said that the process of auction in vegetables and fruit markets was being monitored daily early in the morning by the officers and himself as well. He said that an electronic price board had also been installed at busy intersections Kohinoor chowk for keeping the public aware of the prices of vegetables and pulses.

The DCO said that 16 Sahulat Bazaars were being held in the district thrice in a week and the general market was also being checked by the price control magistrates. He added that stock position of pulses, rice, sugar and other items was satisfactory.

The members directed the officers to continue monitoring of auction process of fruits and vegetables markets on regular basis and daily prices should be fixed with fair profit keeping in view the auction process. They said that the stock of pulses and other items should be taken from grain market time to time to check the availability of these items. The parliamentarian appreciated the efforts of the Punjab government for controlling unwarranted and unjustified price hike. They said that price control system be made on durable basis.

Later, they visited Chiniot and checked the prices and quality of essential goods in Sahulat Bazaar at Tehsil chowk. They also went to fruit and vegetables markets and directed the market committee staff to announce the auction prices of each item through public address system for the awareness of the people. Parliamentarian Haji Akram Ansari, Mian Abdul Mannan, Begum Najma Afzal, Zafar Iqbal Nagra, Mian Tahir Jameel and Faqir Hussain Dogar were also present.

In Chiniot, Punjab Food Minister Bilal Yasin visited Sahulat Bazaar/Sasta Bazaar along with members of Punjab Cabinet Committee on price control including Chief Secretary Naveed Akram, IGP Khan Baig and Secretary Industries Irfan Ali. He checked the quality and prices of vegetables, meats and eatables in the bazaar.

Expressing satisfaction over management of the sasta bazaars, he asked the DCO to inaugurate public address system to inform consumers of the prices of commodities in the wholesale and retail markets. Under the system, the announcements of prices will be made at big markets; mandis and important bazaars.

On the occasion, DCO Dr Irshad Ahmad told that not only sasta bazaars but also other market prices were less than other adjoining districts like Faisalabad; Toba and Jhang. Chiniot is also exporting potatoes at cheaper wholesale rates to Faisalabad and other cities under facilitation of the district government. MPA Maulana Ilyas Chinioti was also present on the occasion.