LAHROE - Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has said that necessary measures are being taken for keeping the prices of essential items within the reach of the common man and a substantial decrease has been witnessed in this connection.

He was presiding over a meeting of the cabinet committee concerned to review prices of essential commodities, here Tuesday. Provincial Ministers Bilal Yasin, Raja Ashfaq Sarwar, Muhammad Shafique, Dr. Farrukh Javed, Special Assistant Arshad Jutt, Members National and Provincial Assembly, Chief Secretary, Additional Chief Secretary, secretaries of the departments concerned, Commissioner Lahore Division and other senior officers were present on the occasion.

Addressing the meeting, the CM said that implementation of the comprehensive mechanism for controlling prices of daily use items would be continued in future as well while supply of quality essential items to the masses at cheaper rates would be ensured at any cost. He said that effective role of elected representatives and administration is of key importance in stabilising prices of essential commodities; therefore, the Punjab government has delegated responsibilities to public representatives and administration to control the rates of daily use items due to which positive results have been achieved and relief has been provided to the people in the real sense. He said that the masses have high expectations of the government which have to be fulfilled at any cost. He said that members of national and provincial assemblies along with administration concerned should visit markets and bazaars to monitor prices of daily use items as well as the process of their auction and this system should be continued on permanent basis.

Shahbaz said that the elected representatives and district administration showing good performance regarding implementation of price control mechanism would be encouraged and given commendatory certificates while those putting up unsatisfactory performance would be held accountable. He directed that price control magistrates showing inefficiency would be removed and announcement of the auction of vegetables in the markets through load speaker be ensured. He directed that recommendations would be evolved for the purpose of legislation for the issuance of non-bailable arrest warrants of the elements involved in profiteering as those selling essential commodities to the citizens at higher than the fixed rates deserve stern punishment rather than any leniency.

Shahbaz said that he has the interest of the people at heart and all possible measures would be taken for its protection. He further directed that indiscriminate action would be taken against those selling water filled meat and setting up of price control committees at town level be considered. He further directed that planning would be made for reviving the system of Dasterkhawans in the province while recommendations formulated for expanding the scope of model bazaars to more cities.  The CM directed that provision of a high quality of atta would be ensured throughout the province and stern action taken against the mills selling substandard flour. He said that the programme of setting up testing lab to check the quality of flour would be outsourced. He said that flour bags of different colours should be introduced for various brands and quality of flour and the name of flour mill, weight, ex-mill rate and retail price be prominently displayed on the bags.

The CM said that 141 Sastay Sahulat Bazaars have been established in the province where food items of high quality are available at cheaper rate. He said that in order to provide relief to the common man, special stalls of chicken and eggs would be set up in Sahulat Bazaars where chicken and eggs would be available at less than the market price. He directed that the programme of setting up special stalls of chicken and eggs in Sastay Sahulat Bazaars with the help of poultry association would be given a final shape as soon as possible. Separately, presiding over a high level meeting to review overall law and order situation in the province, the CM said the whole nation will have to unite on one platform to foil the conspiracies against the country. He said it is only through practical display of unity, harmony and brotherhood that the country could be made a haven of peace.

He said that protection of life and property of the people is the prime responsibility of government and it would spare no effort in this regard. Issuing instructions to police and law enforcement agencies to make foolproof security arrangements for the Chehlum of Hazrat Imam Hussain (RA) and Urs of Hazrat Ali Hajveri, the CM said that even better security arrangements would be made for this purpose than Yaum-e-Ashur while special security measures would be adopted for Christmas as well.

Shahbaz said that police should take all necessary steps for the protection of life and property of citizens as no negligence or laxity would be tolerated in this regard. He directed that supremacy of law would be ensured and police should make effective measures for maintaining a peaceful atmosphere.

He directed that intelligence sharing system among the institutions concerned be further improved and a watchful eye be kept on miscreants. He said that the culprits involved in the murder of Maulana Shamsur Rehman Moavia and Allama Nasir Abbas be arrested at any cost and directed the Inspector General Police should personally monitor the progress on these cases on daily basis and submit him a report.

The CM said that walk-through gates, scanners and CCTV cameras would be arranged for the Chehlum of Hazrat Imam Hussain (RA) and Urs of Hazrat Ali Hajveri and the cabinet committee should personally visit various districts to review security arrangements. He said that all the institutions concerned should work together for improving law and order. He said that there is a dire need to promote sentiments of harmony, tolerance and brotherhood and all segments of society would have to play an active role for this purpose.

Shahbaz was given a detailed briefing by the Inspector General Police, Secretary Home and CCPO Lahore on law and order situation and the security arrangements made for the Chehlum of Hazrat Imam Hussain (RA) and Urs of Hazrat Ali Hajveri.