LAHORE

The downwards impact of fuel prices has not started yet as the rates of all grocery items and vegetables are almost same or going upward during the last two months despite a cut of around 25 per cent in oil prices in the country.

The vendors and shopkeepers were given free hand to fleece the visitors while impact of the arrival of new seasonal crop has not been shifted to the customers as the prices are gradually reducing at the wholesale rate. However, in retail prices, this downward affect is not coming to consumers due to overcharging. Declining trend in the potato price continued with the arrival of new crop. Potato fresh price was reduced by Rs15-20 per kg and available at Rs25 per kg in wholesale market but it is being charged at Rs40-50 per kg in open market. The price of onion was stable at Rs20 per kg and the price of tomato was unchanged at Rs40 per kg in wholesale market and Sunday bazaars but this item is being sold for Rs80 per kg in open market.

The benefit of petroleum prices cut which have been lowered to the level of almost six years back is not passed on to the public as prices of major kitchen items have not been reduced in proportion with the decrease in oil rates.

The government is claiming to cut fuel rate to the level of 2008, but it has failed to pass on this benefit of the reduction of petroleum prices to the masses as the prices of almost all kitchen items are constant.  As per data of Federal Bureau of Statistics data, the price of wheat flour of 10kg was Rs271 in 2008-9 but it is now hovering at around Rs400 per 10kg in fiscal year 2014-15 while the rate of basmati rice broken is almost Rs80 per kg now which was Rs50 per kg in 2008. The rate of medium size bread was Rs25 six years back which is now Rs40 while the rate of beef was Rs150 per kg, mutton was Rs300 per kg and the average chicken rate was Rs100 per kg now these rates are Rs350 per kg, Rs600 per kg and Rs200 per kg respectively.

Milk fresh per litre was selling at Rs40 per kg and now it is selling at Rs65 per kg while Curd per kg is selling at Rs80 per kg while its rate was Rs50 per kg six years back.

Eggs hen, per dozen rate was Rs98 then now its at around Rs110 per dozen. Vegetable Ghee loose 1-kg  was selling at Rs110 and now it is at around Rs160. The rates of pulse masoor washed was Rs130 per kg, pulse moong washed Rs50 and pulse mash washed at Rs75 but they are now at Rs136, Rs160 and Rs165 respectively.

Rate of sugar was Rs36 per kg six years back which is now at Rs55 per kg  The government reduced petrol price by Rs19 per litre and diesel by Rs 13 per litre compared to international market crude oil prices which were cut by around 45 per cent.

It is expected that the government is likely to reduce further fuel prices by the end of December 2014. But the federal government has failed to direct the provincial governments to establish their writ by lowering the rates of kitchen items which are directly linked hike in to oil prices.

Consumers were of the view that it is responsibility of the government to bring down the prices of not only all basic food items but also other goods which are linked to hike in petroleum rates in order to provide actual relief to general public.

This Sunday too, overcharging and non-availability of seasonal vegetables was the main feature of the Sunday bazaars. While increasing trend in the prices of majority of vegetables continued this week again except the rate of onion which was stable at Rs20 per kg.