LAHORE - The Chief Secretary Punjab has directed that a comprehensive plan be prepared for the supply and sale of imported sugar, asking the deputy commissioners to inform the Industries Department about the demand of their districts as soon as possible.

He gave this direction while presiding over a meeting to review the price control measures in the province at his office here on Wednesday. 

The meeting reviewed, in detail, the prices and availability of essential commodities, especially flour and sugar, in Sahulat bazaars and open market. Addressing the meeting, the Chief Secretary said that as per the directions of the Prime Minister and Chief Minister Punjab, there would be no shortage of any item including flour and sugar in the province. 

He said that sugar was being imported to provide relief to the consumers and as soon as the shipment arrives, the supply would begin in the market without any delay. 

He directed the officers that only domestic consumers should get the imported sugar, ensuring that it is not hoarded or sold for the commercial use.  The Chief Secretary said that abundant availability of essential commodities at fixed rates is a priority of the government, adding: “If a Deputy Commissioner sees shortage of any item including flour and sugar, he should immediately inform the Food Department.” 

He asked the Divisional Commissioners about the steps being taken to control the prices of commodities, especially vegetables, in the districts. He said that in order to effectively control the prices of agricultural commodities particularly vegetables, the system of agricultural markets has to be modernized and the monopoly of middlemen and commission agents has to be ended.  He directed that work on setting up of private agriculture markets in the districts be started as soon as the rules of Punjab Agriculture Regulatory Authority (PAMRA) Act are approved.

The Chief Secretary said that the establishment of Sahulat Bazaar aimed to provide relief to the common man and these facilities have started yielding positive results. 

He mentioned that rush of buyers is expected at Sahulat Bazaars in the beginning of the coming month, therefore, the supply of all commodities, especially flour and sugar, should be increased. 

The Secretary Industries briefed the meeting that as many as 272,000 consumers had benefited from Sahulat bazaars on Tuesday. 

The administrative secretaries of food and industries departments, CEO Urban Unit, Special Secretary Agriculture marketing attended the meeting whereas the Divisional Commissioners, RPOs, Deputy Commissioners and DPOs participated through video link.