LAHORE -The opposition comes hard on the treasury for failure of the minister to give a clear policy statement and sharp rise in the prices of daily use items. During general discussion on price hike of essential commodities at the floor of Punjab Assembly on Friday, Punjab Minister for Food Ch Abdul Ghafoor opened the debate but instead of pinpointing the government measures to control the menace of price hike, the policy statement was all praise for the Punjab Chief Minister. The opposition, lead by its leader Ch Zaheer-ud-Din, criticised the minister for making irrelevant speech and rapped the government for its failure to provide essential commodities to the masses at affordable price. Referring to the speech of minister for food, Ch Zaheer-ud-Din said that whatever told to the house just reflected the helplessness of the government and nothing else. He said that the overall increase in the prices of commodities during the last couple of years was 110 percent. He said that tall claims of the rulers to bring the prices to the 1997 level were smashed to the ground as they even failed to ensure the same that were in 2007. He said that the provincial minister also passed on the blame of price hike to the federal government. He said that the Punjab Chief Minister was in close contact with the Prime Minister but they never talked about the genuine issues including price hike. He said that the leading party trapped voters by making false promises including controlling price hike. Now the people have realized that era of Pervaiz Elahi was far better when there was governance. Comparing prices of commodities in 2007 and 2010, he said that the prices of flour has been increased by 100 percent, sugar 168 percent, mutton 100 percent, chicken 50-80 percent, beef 80 percent, milk 90 percent, eggs 80 percent, electricity 100 percent and gas 50 percent. He said that from pulses to fertilizers the prices were touching peak but the government was sitting idol. He said that though there was 16 hours load shedding, but the high prices was a constant source of irritation for people round the clock. He said that unabated price hike was the main reason for deteriorating law and order situation and increase in crimes. He said that youth were having only two options, indulge in crime or commit suicide. He counselled the government to launch Long March against price hike. He said that Punjab is agriculture-based province but people were consuming onion, potato and cabbage that were imported from India. He said that the government could not construct even a single cold storage in part of the province but made claims that they would provide maximum relief to the people. He urged the government to lift ban on the government jobs and also provide funds to the consumer courts. He said that the government should also allow using the funds of Zakat. He suggested that the government should also avoid wasting public money on the projects like Sasti Rooti. Treasury legislator Mian Naseer said that although the prices increased but the inflation rate was the same. He said that the government was making efforts to overcome the menace of price hike. Opposition legislator Seemal Kamran said that the welfare states achieved set targets on the basis of good governance. She said that being Muslim the rulers should keep in their mind the words of Hazrat Umer (RA) that 'if a dog dies near Farat, he will be answerable. She said that the people were dying due to hunger and there were no job facilities. She said that all problems have solutions but only the commitment and dedication was needed that was missing among the rulers. At the end of her speech, the speaker adjourned the house till Monday afternoon (3:00pm).