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LAHORE: Chief Secretary Punjab Kamran Ali Afzal has directed all the deputy commissioners to take concrete steps to control prices of food items in the wake of rains and floods that have pushed rates up besides keeping a close watch on the supply chain of vegetables, especially tomatoes and onions.

He gave this instruction during a video-link meeting of all divisional commissioners and deputy commissioners at the Civil Secretariat on Wednesday. The Chief Secretary asked the officers to play an active role in stabilizing the prices of food items, especially vegetables and pulses. He said the import of tomatoes and onions would be encouraged to minimize the gap between supply and demand.

The Chief Secretary directed that special counters be set up in model bazaars to ensure the availability of tomatoes and onions at fixed rates and the demand and supply of food items, especially vegetables, be monitored on a daily basis.

He said that all price controls magistrates should be immediately mobilized in the field and no leniency should be shown to profiteers and hoarders. He said that there is a need to work with more effort and passion in difficult situations.

The Chief Secretary said that full grinding of government wheat should be ensured in flour mills and the quota of flour mills involved in irregularities should be cancelled.

The administrative secretaries of various departments including industries, agriculture, food and officers concerned attended the meeting while all divisional commissioners and deputy commissioners participated through video link.

Meanwhile, the CS reviewed the measures to control dengue. He was briefed that concerned authorities continued to take action against the violators of dengue SOPs, arresting 208 persons and registering 415 cases in different cities during the last three days.

The officials further briefed that 207 people were arrested in Rawalpindi and one in Faisalabad. Similarly, a total of 415 cases were registered in various cities, including 237 FIRs in Rawalpindi and 57 in Lahore.

The CS said that action is being taken over the violation of dengue SOPs to protect the health and lives of the people. He directed the officers to speed up the activity of culling of larvae in high-risk districts - Lahore, Rawalpindi, Faisalabad and Gujranwala, adding that special attention should be paid to indoor and outdoor surveillance in hotspots. He said that wherever necessary, fumigation should be carried out to eliminate mosquitoes.

He also issued instructions to the Punjab Healthcare Commission to ensure provision of data by all private hospitals. The secretary health gave a detailed briefing to the meeting. He said in view of the dengue situation, the number of beds in hospitals is being increased.

So far this year, 1092 confirmed dengue cases and four deaths have been reported in the province. Some 262 dengue patients are being treated in Punjab hospitals. The additional chief secretary, secretaries of various departments and officers concerned attended the meeting while all divisional commissioners and deputy commissioners participated through video link.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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