Peshawar             -       Nanbais on Monday held protests in various districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa urging the government to lower the price of flour, while several leaders of the KP Nanbai Association were also arrested.

Several leaders of the KP Nanbais Association, including provincial president Haji Iqbal and others, were arrested on Monday from the office of the Deputy Commissioner because of staging protest, Iqbal’s son told this correspondent.

Talking to The Nation, senior vice-president of the association Ihsanullah said that the provincial association has convened a meeting today (Tuesday) to protest the arrest of their leaders.

He said that nanbais were currently using a rate list issued by the government in January 2020 and as per that rate, the price of 120-gram roti was Rs.10.

“Later when the flour price increased, the nanbais protested and the authorities verbally told us to sell 100-gram roti for Rs.10 and 150-gram roti for Rs.15. However, they haven’t yet released the rate list for this,” Ihsan added.

He said due to people’s complaints of “hard” and “thin” rotis, the nanbais now wished to sell the 150-gram roti (for Rs.15), instead of 100-gram roti (for Rs.10). “However, when we started sell 150-gram rotis, the authorities of food and district administration punish the nanbais,” he said.

“We just want the government to issue a fresh rate list, so that we have the proof and we can avoid arrests and other actions on the one hand and the objection of the customers on the other,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Deputy Commissioner Peshawar did not respond to the phone calls, neither had he responded to text messages while his public relations officer said he was unaware of the issue.

An official of KP Food Department, Mujahid Khan, however said that last week, the nanbais had assured the government that they had postponed their strike after talks. He also rejected the claims that 85kg flour sack was being sold at Rs.6000.

“Wheat flour is available for nanbais at the rate of Rs.820 per 20kg bag, which means approximately Rs.4000 per 85kg,” he claimed.

Meanwhile, nanbais across Hazara division also went on a shutter-down strike on Monday as they demanded an increase in the price of roti.

“We earlier warned the district administrations in Hazara division to enhance the price of a roti in accordance with the increase in the prices of various essential commodities but they didn’t pay heed to our demand,” Sadar Zaheer Hussain, the president of Hazara Nanbais Association, told a press conference here.

Flanked by other officer-bearers of the association, he said nanbais could not manage the financial affairs of their households since the wheat flour price had increased.

“Our shops would remain shut across Hazara division until our demand is met,” he added.

Also, the association patron-in-chief Sarfaraz Quraishi said that the price of 85kg wheat flour bag had increased by more than 30 percent recently but the administrations did not increase roti price.

The office-bearers of Hazara Nanbai Association also appealed to the provincial government to take notice of their demands.