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ISLAMABAD: The prices of essential kitchen items have witnessed a reduction during this week past against the previous week, revealed a survey carried out by Business Recorder, here on Saturday.

The survey noted further reduction in wheat flour price, as the best quality wheat flour price in the wholesale market went down from Rs1,520 per 15kg bag to Rs1,480, which in retail is being sold at Rs1,520 per bag against Rs1,550 per 15kg bag, normal quality wheat flour bag price went down from Rs1,500 to Rs1,470 per 15kg bag in the wholesale market, which in retail is being sold at Rs1,500 per bag against Rs1,530.

Over the past three months, the wheat flour price has witnessed a reduction of over Rs1,000 per 20kg bag or almost Rs50 per kg. Tandoor operators in the twin cities have reduced roti, naan, and paratha price by Rs5 and Rs10 apiece from Rs25 to Rs20, from Rs30 to Rs25, and from Rs60 to Rs50 but owing to Islamabad High Court’s orders the tandoor operators have yet not implemented the orders of the Punjab government and Islamabad Capital Territory administration of bringing down roti and naan price at Rs15 and Rs20 respectively.

The survey noted a reduction in sugar price as the commodity price went down from Rs7,000 to Rs6,900 per 50kg bag in the wholesale market, while in retail, sugar is being sold at Rs150 per kg.

Chicken price went down from Rs16,000 to Rs12,000 per 40kg in the wholesale market, which in retail is being sold at Rs335 per kg against Rs420 per kg, while chicken meat is being sold at Rs560 per kg against Rs650 per kg; egg price went up from Rs6,700 to Rs7,300 per carton, which in retail are being sold at Rs260 per dozen against Rs250 per dozen.

Mutton and beef prices remained stable as mutton is available at Rs2,000 per kg, boneless beef at Rs1,200 per kg, and normal beef at Rs1,000 per kg.

Tea prices witnessed no changes as Lipton Yellow Label is available at Rs2,200 per 900 gram pack and Islamabad Tea is available at Rs1,800 per kg; powdered chilli and turmeric prices remained stable as turmeric powder is being sold at Rs700 per kg and red chilli powder at Rs650 per kg.

The Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) prices witnessed no changes as the commodity officially is available at Rs240 per kg while in market LPG is being sold at Rs300 per kg, which is Rs60 per kg higher than the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority’s (OGRA) set price of Rs240 per kg.

The OGRA has set 15kg domestic cylinder LPG price at Rs3,600, while in various parts of the country it is available at Rs5,000-5,200 per 15kg cylinder, reflecting an overcharging of Rs1,400-1,600 per cylinder.

The prices of the branded spices such as Shan, National, and others witnessed no changes as a pack of 39 grams spice is available at Rs130. The price of a cooked daal plate at a normal hotel is Rs250 and a cooked vegetable plate is Rs250.

Rice prices after a long time witnessed a reduction as the best quality basmati price went down from Rs12,100 per 40kg bag to Rs1,000, which in retail is being sold at Rs320 per kg against Rs340 per kg, normal quality Basmati price went down from Rs10,100 to Rs9,000 per 40kg bag, which in retail is being sold at Rs240 per kg against Rs260 per kg, and broken Basmati price went down from Rs8,800 to Rs7,900 per 40kg bag, which in retail is being sold at Rs225 per kg against Rs240 per kg.

Ghee-cooking oil prices also witnessed a reduction as B-grade ghee/oil prices went down from Rs5,400 to Rs5,000 per carton of 16 packs in the wholesale market, which in retail is being sold in the range of Rs340-350 per pack against Rs360-370 per pack, while best quality cooking oil-ghee brands such as Dalda ghee are available at Rs2,450 per 5kg tin and cooking oil at Rs2,480 per 5 litre bottle.

Pulses’ prices remained steady as best quality maash is available at Rs500 per kg, gram pulse at Rs220 per kg, whole gram pulse at Rs320 per kg, various varieties of bean lentils are available in the range of Rs360-560 per kg, moong at Rs250 per kg, and masoor at Rs280 per kg.

The survey observed that the different cigarette companies have started creating an artificial shortage in the market as a result prices of all the cigarette brands increased by Rs20-50 per packet.

No changes in packed milk prices were recorded as small pack of Milk Pak is available at Rs75 per pack. Fresh milk price remained stable at Rs220 per kg and yoghurt price at Rs250 per kg.

Detergents and bathing soaps prices remained stable as Safeguard family size pack is available Rs180, Lux at Rs130 per pack; and Ariel Surf at Rs670 per kg pack.

Overall, vegetables prices witnessed a reduction. Ginger price remained stable at Rs2,700 in wholesale market, which in retail is being sold in the range of Rs600-650 per kg, local garlic price went down from Rs1,400 to Rs1,000 per 5kg in the wholesale market which in retail is being sold in the range of Rs230-350 per kg against Rs320-360 per kg, and Quetta garlic price went down from Rs2,650 to Rs2,300 per 5kg in the wholesale market, which in retail is available in the range of Rs530-570 against Rs560-650 per kg.

Potato prices went down from Rs230-400 to Rs200-330 per 5kg in the wholesale market, which in retail are being sold in the range of Rs50-85 per kg against Rs60-100 per kg, tomato prices went down from Rs800 to Rs650 per basket in the wholesale market, which in retail are being sold in the range of Rs65-80 per kg against Rs75-100 per kg, and onion prices went down from Rs450-750 to Rs180-350 per 5kg, which in retail are being sold in the range of Rs50-90 per kg against Rs110-180 per kg.

Capsicum price went down from Rs500 per 5kg to Rs350 per 5kg in the wholesale market which in retail is being sold in the range of Rs80-90 per kg against Rs120-140, various varieties of pumpkin are available in the range of Rs175-300 per 5kg against Rs450-650 per 5kg in wholesale market, which in retail are being sold in the range of Rs50-80 per kg against Rs110-160 per kg; various types of tinda prices went down from Rs400-550 to Rs250-350 per 5kg which in retail are being sold in the range of Rs65-85 per kg against Rs100-145 per kg; eggplant price remained stable at Rs500 per 5kg, which in retail are being sold at Rs120-140 per kg; cauliflower price went down from Rs650 to Rs550 per 5kg, which in retail is being sold in the range of Rs130-145 per kg against Rs150-160 per kg, and cabbage price went down from Rs180 to Rs80 per 5kg, which in retail is being sold at Rs25-30 per kg against Rs45-50 per kg.

Bitter gourd price is stable at Rs450-500 per 5kg which in retail is being sold in the range of Rs110-125 per kg, green chilli price went down from Rs100 per kg to Rs80 per kg, lemon price went up from Rs500-550 to Rs730-750 per kg and cucumber price went down from Rs250 to Rs170 per 5kg, which in retail is being sold in the range of Rs45-50 per kg against Rs60-70 per kg.

Radish price is stable at Rs250 per 5kg which in retail is being sold at Rs60-65 per kg; turnip price went up from Rs280-325 to Rs380-425 per 5kg which in retail are being sold in the range of Rs95-110 per kg against Rs75-80, peas price is stable at Rs800-1,000 per 5kg which in retail are being sold in the range of Rs200-225 per kg and fresh bean price went down from Rs725 per 5kg to Rs600 which in retail are being sold in the range of Rs140-150 per kg against Rs170-190 per kg.

Fruit prices witnessed a mixed trend as the best quality Iranian Kala Killo apple is available at Rs330 per kg against Rs350 per kg and Pakistani in the range of Rs230-250 per kg against Rs270-290 per kg, Golden apples are available in the range of Rs145-190 per kg against Rs180-240 per kg, white apples are available in the range of Rs110-190 per kg against Rs120-220 per kg.

Bananas’ are available in the range of Rs70-180 per dozen against Rs70-220 per dozen, guava in the range of Rs70-180 per kg against Rs80-160 per kg; various varieties of melons are available in the range of Rs35-90 per kg against Rs55-90 per kg. Strawberries are being sold in the range of Rs140-200 per kg against Rs80-160 per kg and watermelon in the range of Rs70-110 per kg.

Various people talking to this correspondent have said that due to consistent ineffective monitoring by commissioners, Deputy Commissioners (DCs), Assistant Commissioners (ACs), the special price control magistrates, and other relevant departments over the years, the consumers were at the mercy of the vendors as they were free to charge their own prices of not only vegetables and fruits but of other items too, saying one vendor was selling onions at Rs150 per kg while another was selling same quality onions at Rs180 per kg, mutton on some shops was available at Rs2,000 per kg and same quality of mutton was being sold at Rs2,200 per kg at others, wheat flour was available at Rs1,520 per 15kg bag on one shop and another shopkeeper was selling same quality of the commodity at Rs1,550.

They urged the government to strictly enforce official price list daily and weekly and is prepared in consultation with the respective traders’ unions and punish the violators.

However, Business Recorder also observed that there is still a serious difference between the official prices of various items and market prices.

It also observed retailers, vendors, and other sellers are not displaying official price list of household items at a prominent place and are not even providing on demand.

According to traders, over the past few years, continuous increase in fuel and utilities’ costs significantly contributed to increasing the prices.

They attributed around 20 percent increase in the prices of all the items to increase in gas and electricity bills. Traders are also forced to move up their margins to meet ever increasing expenditure from salaries to transportation costs and other miscellaneous expenses.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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