For governments in Pakistan, things doable have become undoable. During Muharram this year, milk became dearer than petrol and diesel. In Karachi and other places of Sindh, the price of milk had gone up as high as Rs140 a litre. At the same time, petrol was selling at Rs113 a litre and diesel at Rs91 a litre. On the occasion of Muharram, the demand for milk increases. Taking advantage of this, unscrupulous milk sellers increase the price of milk. It becomes a case of strike the iron before it is cold. Whether it is Muharram or Ramazan traders have no qualms about increasing prices. Usually, the authorities turn a blind eye to profiteering. We do not know whether politicians protect the interests of milk sellers in the legislatures.
At present in Karachi, the official price of milk has been fixed at Rs94 a litre but shopkeepers are selling it at Rs110. Retailers say since they purchase milk at a high price from wholesalers and dairy farmers, they sell it at a high price. Dairy farmers and wholesalers maintain that prices of their inputs have increased, so they sell milk at a high price. They say the government has not allowed them any increase in milk price since long. Dr Khatu Mal Jeevan, a Special Assistant to the Sindh CM, has called a meeting on Sept 13 at the Karachi commissioner’s office to review the matter. Along with the commissioner, all deputy commissioners, additional inspectors general of police, DIGs, SSPs, representatives of dairy farmers and other stakeholders would be present at the meeting
We hope the meeting will arrive at a decision that will make milk available to the common people at an affordable price. Recent experience, however, shows that meetings are indispensable when you do not want to do anything. Pakistan is the sixth-largest producer of milk in the world, so there is no reason why milk and its products should not be available at affordable prices to all strata of society.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 12th, 2019.