Whenever there is a petrol price hike, the prices of food items also go up. The Sindh High Court wants to know why this is the case.
The court asked the federal and provincial governments and the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation to come up with a formula linking prices of essential commodities to the cost of petroleum products.
The SHC division bench, headed by Chief Justice Mushir Alam, called for these replies on Saturday during the hearing of a petition challenging the formula determined by the government to fix the cost of daily use items.
Intikhab Alam Suri, a representative of Human Rights Network, had taken the authorities to court over the issue. The Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority chairman, the petroleum and minerals ministry, Sindh’s chief secretary, the secretary of food, agriculture and livestock departments, and the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation administrator are the respondents.
Suri submitted that OGRA had increased the petroleum prices ultimately resulting in the price hike of essential commodities. The government departments had failed to check the spiralling prices, he stated.
Giving examples, the petitioner stated that in 2010, the price of milk was raised by up to 10%, sugar 17% and flour by 14% without any justification on the pretext of revised fuel prices.
“It is becoming difficult for the common man to have meals two times a day because the prices of edibles are getting out of his reach,” the petitioner argued. “This is blatant violation of the legal and constitutional provisions protecting the citizens’ right to live.”
Suri appealed to the court to impose restrictions on “uncalled-for price hikes” of commodities.
The petitioner pointed out that comments had not been filed by the petroleum and minerals ministry, provincial chief secretary, the food, agriculture and livestock secretary and the Karachi administrator.
The hearing was put off to a date to be fixed later.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 18th, 2012.