LAHORE - Punjab Minister for Industries and Trade Mian Aslam Iqbal Thursday said that providing relief to common man was top priority of the government and no compromise would be made on the important matter.

He expressed these views while presiding over a meeting along with Punjab Chief Secretary Jawwad Rafique Malik to review the prices and availability of essential commodities, especially flour and sugar, smart lockdown situation, and arrangements in cattle markets in the province here at 9-Aikman Road on Thursday.

The provincial minister said that to ensure the availability of essential commodities at the prices, fixed by the government, a crackdown on profiteers was underway in the province. During the current month, 852 persons were arrested, cases were registered against 898, besides imposition of Rs 57.5 million fine on them.

He said that the prices of commodities were fixed by the administration itself and their implementation had to be ensured by the administrative officers.

The Chief Secretary said that before the arrival of Eid, prices as well as quality, demand and supply of essential edibles including tomatoes, onions, ginger, lemons and other kitchen items were being monitored closely.

He said that clear instructions had been issued by the federal government to overcome the issue of artificial price-hike, adding that no laxity would be tolerated in this regard.

He said that an indiscriminate action against profiteers and hoarders would continue throughout the province.

The Chief Secretary asked the Deputy Commissioners to monitor the process of supply of subsidised government wheat to flour mills, its grinding and supply in the market to ensure availability of flour at fixed prices.

He also issued directions regarding taking trader organisations into confidence for implementation of the smart lockdown and paying special attention to the arrangements in the cattle markets.

The administrative secretaries of food, agriculture and industries departments, Commissioner Lahore Division and CCPO Lahore attended the meeting whereas all the Divisional Commissioners, RPOs, Deputy Commissioners, and DPOs participated through video link.