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ISLAMABAD: The prices of essential kitchen items have witnessed a mixed trend 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 Rs1,480 per 15kg bag to Rs1,400, which in retail is being sold at Rs1,450 per bag against Rs1,520 per 15kg bag. Normal quality wheat flour bag price went down from Rs1,470 to Rs1,380 per 15kg bag in the wholesale market, which in retail is being sold at Rs1,400 per bag against Rs1,500.

Over the past three months, the wheat flour price has witnessed a reduction of Rs900 per 15kg bag or almost Rs60 per kg.

However, the tandoor operators and bakery owners in the twin cities have yet not passed on the wheat flour price reduction to the end consumers as tandoor owners are selling roti at Rs25, naan at Rs30, and paratha price at Rs60, despite Islamabad High Court’s orders, the tandoor operators have yet not implemented the orders.

The bakery owners have also not passed on the benefit to end consumers as large size bread is available at Rs130 and small size at Rs90. The prices were set when wheat flour price has touched highest level of Rs2,300 per 15kg bag.

Sugar price remained stable at Rs6,900 per 50kg bag in the wholesale market, while in retail, sugar is being sold at Rs150 per kg.

Chicken price went up from Rs12,000 to Rs12,400 per 40kg in the wholesale market, which in retail is being sold at Rs345 per kg against Rs335 per kg, while chicken meat is being sold at Rs575 per kg against Rs560 per kg. Egg price went up from Rs7,300 to Rs7,500 per carton, which in retail are being sold at Rs260 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 chili and turmeric prices remained stable as turmeric powder is being sold at Rs700 per kg and red chili 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 (OGRA)’s 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 witnessed no changes as the best quality basmati is available at Rs10,000 which in retail is being sold at Rs320 per kg, normal quality Basmati at Rs9,000 per 40kg bag, which in retail is being sold at Rs240 per kg, and broken Basmati price at Rs7,900 per 40kg bag, which in retail is being sold at Rs225 per kg.

Ghee-cooking oil prices remained stable as B-grade ghee/oil is available Rs5,200 per carton of 16 packs in the wholesale market, which in retail is being sold in the range of Rs340-350 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 by creating an artificial shortage in the market have increased the prices of all the cigarette brands in the range of Rs20-50 per packet. According to traders, prior to federal budget, cigarette companies every year through this practice are making multi billion rupees.

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 mixed trend. 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 remained stable at Rs1,000 per 5kg in the wholesale market which in retail is being sold in the range of Rs230-350 per kg, and Quetta garlic price went down from Rs2,300 to Rs1,300 per 5kg in the wholesale market, which in retail is available in the range of Rs330-370 against Rs530-670 per kg.

Potato prices remained stable in the range of Rs200-330 per 5kg in the wholesale market, which in retail are being sold between Rs50-85 per kg, tomato prices went up from Rs650 to Rs750 per basket of 13kg in the wholesale market, which in retail are being sold in the range of Rs65-80 per kg, and onion prices went up from Rs180-350 to Rs250-350 per 5kg, which in retail are being sold in the range of Rs60-90 per kg against Rs50-90 per kg.

Capsicum price is stable at Rs350 per 5kg in the wholesale market which in retail is being sold in the range of Rs80-90 per kg, various varieties of pumpkin are available in the range of Rs175-300 per 5kg in wholesale market, which in retail are being sold in the range of Rs50-80 per kg; various types of tinda prices went down from Rs250-350 to Rs200-300 per 5kg which in retail are being sold in the range of Rs55-75 per kg against Rs65-85 per kg; eggplant price remained stable at Rs500 per 5kg, which in retail are being sold at Rs120-140 per kg; cauliflower price is stable at Rs550 per 5kg, which in retail is being sold in the range of Rs130-145 per kg, and cabbage price is stable at Rs80 per 5kg, which in retail is being sold at Rs25-30 per kg. Bitter gourd price went down from Rs450-500 to Rs400-450 per 5kg which in retail is being sold in the range of Rs95-110 per kg against Rs110-125 per kg, green chili are available in the range of Rs55-90 per kg against Rs50-80 per kg, lemon price remained unchanged at Rs730-750 per kg and cucumber price went down from Rs170 to Rs150 per 5kg, which in retail is being sold in the Rs45-50 per kg.

Radish price went down from Rs250 to Rs150 per 5kg which in retail is being sold at Rs40-45 per kg against Rs60-65 per kg; turnip price went down from Rs425 to Rs400 per 5kg which in retail are being sold in the range of Rs95-110 per kg, 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 Rs600 per 5kg to Rs400 which in retail are being sold in the range of Rs100-110 per kg against Rs140-150 per kg.

Fruit prices witnessed a mixed trend as the best quality Iranian Kala Killo apple is available at Rs270 per kg against Rs330 per kg and Pakistani in the range of Rs230-250 per kg against Rs270-290 per kg; white apples are available in the range of Rs90-170 per kg against Rs110-190 per kg. Bananas’ are available in the range of Rs70-190 per dozen against Rs70-180 per dozen, guava in the range of Rs70-180 per kg against Rs80-160 per kg; various varieties of Mellons are available in the range of Rs35-90 per kg against Rs55-90 per kg. Various varieties of peaches are being sold in the range of Rs80-200 per kg against Rs120-250 per kg and various varieties of watermelon in the range of Rs40-160 against Rs70-210 per kg.

The people from different walks of life talking to this correspondent said that despite a significant reduction in the prices of vegetables and fruits the retailers are not passing on the full benefit to the end consumers. They blamed that due to ineffective monitoring by commissioners, deputy commissioners (DCs), assistant commissioners (ACs), the special price control magistrates, and other relevant departments, 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. They said one vendor was selling cucumbers at Rs50 per kg while another at Rs70 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 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 per cent 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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