RAWALPINDI: As Ramazan commenced, flatbread makers of Rawalpindi have quietly increased the prices of roti and naan by at least Rs3, citing the short working hours and an increase in the prices of flour.
Price of naan has been increased by Rs3 to Rs15. It was previously available for Rs12, The Express Tribune learnt during a survey on Monday.
The price of wholegrain ‘pateri’ roti has also been increased to Rs8 while its official rate remains Rs7. Most of the hotels and restaurants selling parathas and roghni naan, are charging up to Rs30 for one bread.
Naanbai Association President Shafique Abbasi contended that flour prices have surged manifold in recent months.
Moreover, Abbasi said that the government had only allowed tandoors to operate for just two-hours during Ramazan amidst a lockdown, imposed to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19). “Two hours, it is absurd,” Abbasi exclaimed, explaining they need two hours just to knead the dough, let alone make the bread and sell it.
Further, the official called for the government to waive their gas bills for April and May. He complained that the tandoors had received bills of up to Rs60,000, even though although they were closed for much of the month due to lockdown.
“We are unable to pay our gas bill,” he said.
The association’s president demanded that the government defer these gas, adding that their operating hours should also be increased to at least eight hours from two currently.
He reminded that none of the tandoors had laid-off their workers and demanded that the government fulfil their demands or else they would be compelled to protest.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 28th, 2020.