CHINIOT

Though a considerable decrease in prices of ghee and oil as well as transport fares has been announced by the government, the district administration has failed to implement the new rates and fares despite claims of imposing fines on the violators, it is learnt.

With remarkable reduction in palm oil prices in the international market, the Punjab government had decided to reduce ghee and cooking oil prices by Rs15 per kg in the retail market. The government directed all the district administrations to ensure the reduction in the prices of ghee at retail level. It had also issued a notification of the new prices of different ghee and vegetable oil brands available in the market. But these rates are not being observed in the market and shopkeepers are still selling the products at the earlier rates.

A market survey revealed that Dalda Cooking oil 3-litre bottle is being sold at Rs600 compared to the official rate of Rs564. Similarly, Dalda Banaspati ghee pack of 5 kg is being sold at Rs950 instead of Rs910. Five-kg pack of Kisan Banaspati ghee is being sold for Rs900 instead of Rs875. The Kashmir Banaspati 1-kg pack is sold for Rs157 instead of Rs144.

A shopkeeper at Rail Bazaar said that the prices of different ghee brands have been reduced to some extent but not according to notification of the government.  If the government wants to reduce the prices, it should reduce the ex-mill rates of oil.

It was recalled that the government had reduced the transport fares in the past few months after drastic reduction in fuel prices.  But the district administration too failed to get the reduced fares implemented in the local transport and the transporters are still overcharging the passengers.

The notification of transport department has fixed the fare of non Air conditioned intercity transport as Re0.79 per kilometre and that of Air conditioned transport as Re0.94 a km.  But the transporters are still charging almost 50pc to 100pc extra.

The district administration had fixed the Chiniot to Faisalabad fare Rs28 for and Rs34 but the transporters are charging Rs40 for non AC vehicles. The fare of Chiniot-Sargodha is charged as Rs90 against Rs43.

The fare for Chiniot to Jhang is charged as Rs100 fixed Rs69 for non-AC vehicles.  Similarly, for Chiniot-Pindi Bhattian, fare is charged Rs50 against the Rs28. The fare to Lahore which is 165 kilometre is charged Rs300 for AC vans against Rs156 and Rs132. The fare for Chiniot to Islamabad is charged Rs450 against Rs282 for AC and Rs237 for non-AC vehicles.

When contacted, DCO Shoukat Khichi said that price magistrates were ensuring the implementation of rates. So far, 23 shopkeepers have been fined for overcharging.

Regarding higher transport fares, he said that the fares of AC buses were not regulated by the administration while the non-AC coaches and buses were charging according to the notified rates.