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LAHORE: Prime Minister Imran Khan Friday called for strict monitoring of the unjust difference in the prices of essential commodities at wholesale market and retail levels to ensure their provision to the masses at “minimum” prices.

He said the foremost priority of officers, including the assistant and deputy commissioners concerned regarding the stabilization in the edible items’ prices should be to ensure the elimination of unnecessary increase in the prices through effective monitoring of ups and downs in market prices.

The prime minister was presiding over a meeting held here to review measures being taken for increasing the number of fruit and vegetable markets in Punjab and reducing the price of wheat flour.

Minister for Economic Affairs Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar, Advisor to the PM Shehzad Akbar, Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar, Special Assistant to the PM Malik Ameen Aslam, Food Minister Abdul Aleem Khan, Minister for Agriculture Sardar Hussain Jahanian Gardezi, Special Assistant to the CM Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan and senior officers were in attendance.

The prime minister said bringing ease in the lives of poor and underprivileged masses was the foremost priority of the present government.

The prime minister directed to formulate a special plan for helping the economically marginalized segments of the society so that the government’s resources could be effectively utilized as subsidy for public welfare.

He also directed to focus on creating public awareness about healthy food and wheat flour.

Imran Khan stressed on the need of strengthening the system of wheat transportation and flour prices through a comprehensive strategy so as to save the masses from the difficulties in future as well.

The meeting was briefed in detail about the strategy for implementation of the decisions taken for reviewing and amending the current regulations to increase the number of fruit and vegetable markets in Punjab, private sector partnership and making the process further easy.

In the light of prime minister's special instructions for the provision of essential items to the people in accordance with the rate list, implementation of 80:20 ratio in grinding by flour mills for reducing the price of wheat flour through enhanced production, reforms for decreasing the administrative expenditures in procurement, transportation and storage of wheat, various proposals were presented in the meeting.

The prime minister was also briefed about recommendations for amendments in the Punjab Agriculture Marketing Regulation Act for increasing the number of fruit and vegetable markets in the province, elimination of unnecessary administrative approvals and making the procedure easy for the establishment of private sector markets and the monitoring of unjust price fluctuation in the existing markets.

He was apprised of the new regime for the implementation of action plan to increase the number of fruit and vegetable markets in the province. The prime minister was also briefed in detail about the recommendations for the implementation of 80:20 grinding ratio at flout mills, reducing the price of wheat flour and enhancing its production, and the effective crackdown against some flour mills found involved in violation over the last few months.