LAHORE  - The threat of ghee and cooking oil shortage is resurfacing in the province, as the Punjab government has deviated from its agreement with ghee manufacturers signed three days back.

The government, in a meeting with the PVMA representatives, in a written agreement on March 14, had accepted the stance of ghee millers to also include in Rs15/kg cut the price concession already passed on to the consumers in the past by the millers voluntarily due to cut in palm oil rates in the international market.

After the agreement, the Punjab government had issued a handout to the media which said that Chairman Implementation Committee on Reduction in Prices of Daily Use Commodities, Rana Sanaullah Khan has said that Ghee Mills Owners Association has accepted the decision of the government of decrease of Rs15 per kg/liter in the prices of edible oil and ghee while a written agreement has also been reached between the government and mills association. 72 hours were given to mills owners for the implementation of the decision after which strict action will be taken against the violators. Rana Sana Ullah had said that government also accepted the demand of concession already given in the prices of oil and ghee due to reduction in the prices of palm oil from July 2014 to February 2015 by Mills Association. He had said that this concession will be included in decrease of Rs15. However, the association will have to provide authentic documental proof of concession earlier given in brands.

The industry sources said that agreement was inked in Urdu between govt and PVMA but when it was translated in English its wording was changed. According to which the millers have to reduce ghee price by at least Rs10 per kg no matter how much concession has already been passed to the consumers.

“The govt will not accept the past relief of more than Rs5 per kg cut in ghee rates,” the notification issued by the Punjab Industries, Commerce and Investment Department stated. PVMA member said that they are trying to approach Chairman Implementation Committee on Reduction in Prices of Daily Use Commodities, Rana Sanaullah Khan, but he is not responding. They said that officials of different departments of Punjab including Industry, Labour, Environment etc are harassing the ghee millers on fake allegations forcing them to shut the factories, causing another crisis. They said that industry department officials are not following the agreement and forcing the cooking oil and ghee companies to make additional cut in their goods prices despite the fact they have already passed on concession to the consumers.  It is to be noted that the government earlier wanted the millers to cut their product rate by Rs15 per kg as per ratio of price cut in palm oil rate in international market to pass on the benefit of price reduction of commodities in global market.

However, the ghee and edible oil millers were of the view that they have already dropped the rate of their eatables in line with cut in price of raw material.