LAHORE   -  Chief Secretary Punjab has directed the authorities to get approved as early as possible the rules of the Punjab Agriculture Marketing Regulatory Authority (PAMRA) Act, which was introduced to modernize the system of agricultural markets to effectively control the prices of agricultural commodities, including vegetables. He gave this direction while presiding over a daily-review meeting on price control.

The Chief Secretary said that as per the directions of the Prime Minister and Chief Minister Punjab, the sale of essential commodities especially flour and sugar at fixed prices would be ensured in any case, and in this regard, the establishment of Sahulat Bazaars and other concrete steps were being taken.

He said that the main reason for the clear difference in the prices of vegetables in various cities was the outdated system of  auction in the markets.  He said that in order to provide relief to the consumers, the monopoly of middlemen and commission agents has to be ended.

He said that the direct sale of agricultural commodities by farmers to consumers would help limit the role of middlemen.

To bring down the prices of vegetables immediately, the Chief Secretary set up an eight-member committee headed by Secretary Industries Department and tasked it with presenting recommendations within two days.

The members of the committee include Special Secretary of Agriculture Marketing, three Divisional Commissioners, and three Deputy Commissioners. The Chief Secretary directed the Punjab Cane Commissioner to ensure that a sufficient quantity of sugar is available at the price not more than Rs 85 per kg in the Sahulat Bazaars.

He also issued instructions regarding geo-tagging of all Sahulat Bazaars. He remarked that there could be no greater service than providing relief to the common man and for this, the officers should perform their duties diligently and honestly without accepting any pressure.

He mentioned that a Deputy Commissioner, who could not bear the pressure had no right to hold the coveted post.

The Industries Secretary gave a detailed briefing to the meeting on Sahulat Bazaars, and prices and availability of commodities. The meeting was attended by the Additional Chief Secretary (South Punjab), Secretary Food, CEO Urban Unit, Chairman PITB, Commissioner Lahore, and Special Secretary Agriculture Marketing.  The Divisional Commissioners, RPOs, Deputy Commissioners, and DPOs participated through video link.