LAHORE  - Punjab Chief Minister, Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif has said that arrangements have been made for holding ‘sastay bazaars’ thrice a week for providing essential items to the people at cheaper rates throughout the province. He disclosed that quality essential items will be available to the people at cheaper rates and flour at ex-mill rate in 142 sastay bazaars starting from Friday.

The CM directed the officers concerned not to spare any effort for keeping prices of food items within the reach of the common man. He also directed the legislators of the PML-N to move along with administrative officers in their visit to the vegetable markets in the morning and personally monitor the prices. He said that command and control system and a helpline should be set up for digital monitoring of prices. He said that immediate steps should be taken for setting up modern food testing laboratories under public-private partnership. He directed that there should be no complaint about over-charging in the sale of petrol throughout the province.

Shahbaz Sharif told the meeting that Cabinet Committee besides visiting districts for reviewing the prices and availability of daily use items, would also take necessary steps for the purpose of keeping the prices under the control. He said that though due to effective implementation of coordinated strategy and vigorous government steps, the prices of essential items have stabilised, yet there is a need of taking further steps in this regard.

He said that the mechanism adopted by Commissioner Lahore with regard to availability of items and monitoring of prices should be followed throughout the province and the task of stabilising the prices and removing the gap between supply and demand of edible items should be taken as a challenge.

Shahbaz Sharif said that the market system needs reformation. He said that a vigilant eye should be kept on the administration and secretaries of market committees and strict action should be taken against the administrator or secretary of market committees found involved in corruption. He said that screening of price control magistrates should be carried out and hard working magistrates of good repute should be posted in the markets.

The CM has also directed strict action against the petrol stations involved in overcharging and short measures. He said that those petrol pumps owners who loot the people deserve no leniency. He said that action should be taken without bowing to any pressure and affiliation against the owners of petrol pumps involved in overcharging and be sent behind the bars.

Earlier, Chief Secretary informed that at 142 Sastay Bazaars throughout the province 20kg atta bag will be available for Rs. 765.