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The flour millers have increased the wheat flour price by Rs270 per 25kg bag, while stopped supplying government controlled wheat flour bag of 20kg in the market, wholesalers and retailers said.
According to wheat flour wholesalers and retailers, following the government decision to lockdown the country to deal with spreading coronavirus, flour millers over the past four days first reduced the supply with increasing the commodity price by Rs100 per 25kg bag.
They said that after two days reducing wheat flour supply, the millers completely stopped supply of flour for one day and on Thursday, some millers supplied wheat flour to retailers.
Traders further said that some of the millers were totally not supplying wheat flour, while those supplying were overcharging.
They further said that the supply of sugar had completely been stopped in the market owing to closure of major wholesale markets of Rawalpindi/Islamabad, which also supplies entire range of essential commodities to Azad Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan, parts of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP) especially Hazara Division, and Pothohar region.
Traders said that sugar price in wholesalers market during past four days had also increased by Rs200 per 50kg bag and now ghee/cooking oil supply had also been completely halted.
People talking to Business Recorder said that owing to coronavirus lockdown acute shortage of various essential kitchen items had emerged as police and other law enforcement agencies were not allowing opening of groceries, as a result, poor people who totally rely on daily earnings could not buy required stuff.
They further said that if they managed to buy the stuff they could not cook it as Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) and firewood were not available due to shortage of supply.
Moreover, according to the people, LPG and firewood prices had also gone up as a result of short supply.
People also complained that owing to the lockdown the prices of an entire range of essential kitchen items had increased manifold, saying that vegetable prices within past two days had gone out of their reach.
Prices of all the pulses, cooking oil/ghee and spices have increased as normal quality ghee before the imposition of lockdown was available at Rs170 per litre pack, which was now costing Rs200 per pack.
Moreover, it was also observed that the prices of a number of vegetables also witnessed an increase as onion price went further up from Rs370 per 5kg to Rs400 per 5kg, which in retail was being sold at Rs85 per kg against a day earlier price of Rs80 per kg.
Tomato price jumped up from Rs220 per 5kg to Rs250 per 5kg, which in retail is being sold at Rs60 per kg against Rs50 per kg, potato price went up from Rs200 per 5kg to Rs230 per 5kg, which in retail are being sold at Rs55 per kg against Rs45 per kg.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020