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LAHORE: In order to control prices of the daily use commodities in the province, the Punjab government has decided to seal the shops instead of imposing fine over profiteering.

The decision was taken in a meeting chaired jointly by Minister for Industries Mian Aslam Iqbal and newly-appointed Chief Secretary Punjab Kamran Ali Afzal on Saturday at Civil Secretariat. The prices, availability of commodities and performance of the magistrates were reviewed.

"Now the shops of the profiteers will be sealed for one week instead of imposing fine", the Chief Secretary issued orders to all the administrative secretaries.

He directed the administrations of districts to monitor the auction process in the markets on a daily basis and send its report to the industries department. He also asked the deputy commissioners to fix the prices of pulses according to the fluctuations in the rates in the international market and pay special attention to the availability of flour, sugar and ghee.

The provincial minister directed the field officers to ensure display of rate lists at shops and take immediate action over the complaint of price violation. He said inflicting loss on the national exchequer by imposing fines on fake receipts would not be tolerated and a system of issuing e-challans should be devised to impose fines. He clarified that in future only the notified magistrates would be authorized to conduct price checking.

The chief secretary said that the biggest problem of the common man is price hike and the administrative officers would have to make "extra efforts" to overcome it.

He said that it was the responsibility of the administrative officers to implement the fixed rates. He directed that prices of essential commodities should be stabilized through the market mechanism and the reasons for price differential in districts should be ascertained. He said that for the provision of relief to the common man, the availability of commodities would be ensured at fixed rates. The chief secretary also sought a report on the higher prices of eatables in Rawalpindi as compared to other districts. The administrative secretaries of relevant departments including industries, agriculture, food, Chairman PITB, Commissioner Lahore and concerned officers attended the meeting while all the divisional commissioners and deputy commissioners participated through video link.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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