LAHORE - Punjab Chief Minister Shahabz Sharif has directed the Intelligence Bureau and Special Branch to furnish daily reports regarding price control and reiterated that all the Commissioners, DCOs, RPOS, DPOS, CPOs and CCPOs will be responsible for enforcement of reduced prices.
According to official sources, the chief minister came hard on the profiteers denying government price control mechanism for their personal interests. The CM pledged reduction of POL prices must lead to reduced fares of transport and freight and its subsequent impact on prices of essential commodities.
He was chairing a meeting on Saturday after being informed about the negotiations of the Cabinet Committee with the manufacturers and dealers of the reduced prices. The CM, in the meeting, directed to ensure the smooth supply without any shortage. Stressing on quantity and quality of the eatables, the CM ordered to curb the menace of adulteration.
As per the directions, The industries secretary will notify the rates of other leftover brands and unbranded vegetable oil/ghee without any further delay and printed prices must be available at retailer level. The DCOs and the industries secretary might be well aware of stock position of the commodity.
CM Shahbaz Sharif further said that a robust, transparent and efficient mechanism of monitoring and vigilance must be put in place to ensure trickledown effect of reduced prices. Public awareness campaign of the reduced prices through print, electronic and other media for general public must be ensured, the CM ordered.
An officer told the CM the ghee prices have been on the rise across the province as a deluge of detrimental factors have descended like POL prices, low freight and stability of dollar in the market. Now this sort of ghee price hike under such circumstances is painful for people who demanded reduction in prices of common commodities.
“When the economy is growing as the government claims, the people want to see benefits from it and question why prices are not coming down,” Shahbaz said. He held the PMLN government had pledged to control price hike otherwise it feared that the oppositions might fuel the masses to raise issue of price hike despite low POL prices.
Shahbaz Sharif said the lack of magistracy system created issues like price hike and the provincial government had to involve cabinet, members of the parliament, police, civil administration and now the IB and Special Branch to curb the menace.
However, an officer of the Punjab Finance department seeking secrecy said the Supreme Court was the only forum where CCP’s decisions could be challenged before the amendment in the relevant law. But after the amendment, the relevant article was amended, he added.
The High Courts and even the lower courts were given the right to hear appeals against the commission, he said, adding the Ogra that was supposed to have reserves failed to ensure it and the same was done by the oil companies.
Responding a query that after the decline in petrol prices, the electricity rates should be lowered, he said, there too the competition lacked. He, however, suggested that besides involving IB and Special Branch , the need was to crash against cartelisation.
“We have been held hostage by cartels that by bribing bureaucrats influence market and multiply profits. Cartels in Sugar, cement, food and beverage, fertiliser, automobile and other industries not only exist but they have been multiplying their profits without any hindrance. It seems difficult to make them accountable since they enjoy support from ruling elite and other stakeholders,” the official said.