Though the new system puts them in charge, the commissioners and deputy commissioners do not have magisterial powers. They can name prices for basic necessities under the Essential Commodities Price Act 2006, but they cannot prosecute those who violate their orders.
“The commissioner has the power to control the prices of essential items just for the month of Ramazan,” said an official. The Sindh government has asked the federal government to permanently grant the commissioner magisterial powers, he added.
The decision was made at a meeting held at Chief Minister House on Monday. The gathering also decided that the assistant commissioners and mukhtiarkars will be in charge of monitoring and controlling prices.
The government has posted special magistrates who will pay markets surprise visits to check that the rules are being followed and nothing is being sold at inflated prices.
The CM took notice of media reports that traders, businessmen and wholesalers are deliberately increasing the prices of essential commodities such as edible oil, ghee, sugar, pulses, fruit.
He directed officials to take action against people involved in illegal hoarding and profiteering.
Sindh Law Minister Muhammad Ayaz Soomro, Chief Secretary Raja Muhammad Abbas, Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Waseem Ahmed, Board of Revenue’s Ghulam Ali Pasha, Advocate General Abdul Fatah Malik, Law Secretary Syed Ghulam Nabi Shah and others attended the meeting.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 2nd, 2011.