Keeping a check on illegal price hikes: Karachi Commissioner seeks peoples’ help

Says that 195 people were detained during the drive in Ramazan, 9,034 were fined.


Our Correspondent July 30, 2013
“We have fined at least Rs100 million up till now during our drive in Ramazan against illegal price hikes,” said Shoaib Siddique while stressing the need to develop consumer awareness. PHOTO: ONLINE

KARACHI:


If someone is overcharging you for milk or other items in the market, then all you need to do is email or call the office of the Karachi Commissioner so that the seller could be taken to task.


Karachi Commissioner Shoaib Ahmed Siddiqui announced this at a press conference on Tuesday, while asking the civil society’s to help continue his campaign against illegal price hikes.

“We have fined at least Rs100 million up till now during our drive in Ramazan against illegal price hikes,” he said while stressing the need to develop consumer awareness. “We still need help of the civil society as 26 officers cannot check every corner of a big city like Karachi.”

The commissioner pointed out that the printing press and seals of the commissioner’s office were being used for printing fake price lists. “We raided a printing press in Karimabad and seized the fake price lists as well as the seals being used. It is now the responsibility of the police department to find out the black sheep in the commissioner office,” he said. “We have given out our email address and phone numbers so people can report the price hikes in their areas.”

According to him, the people who were overcharging wanted to recover their losses during Ramazan. “But whenever we have received complaints of fake prices, our assistant commissioners conducted raids and fined shopkeepers, sometimes even detaining them.”

According to the commissioner, 195 people were detained during the drive while 9,034 were fined. “Our next target is the fruit and vegetable wholesale market,” said Siddiqui while appreciating the assistant commissioners of Preedy, Gadap and Saddar for conducting successful raids.

To report illegal price hikes, people can email at [email protected] or call 99205605/ 99203443.

Milk price controversy

Meanwhile, the Karachi Commissioner and others were issued notices by the Sindh High Court on Tuesday for allegedly not complying with court’s order to fix the retail price of fresh milk in the city.

The All Karachi Milk Retailers Welfare Association had filed a contempt application against the city commissioner and his subordinate officials. The petitioner’s association complained that the court had allowed increase in the price of fresh milk to Rs13 per litre in April 2012. That price, however, expired on November 31, 2012.

According to the petitioner, the court had also instructed the then city government to fix milk prices under the provisions of the Sindh Essential Commodities Price Act 2006.

The court was pleaded to initiate contempt proceedings against the commissioner and his subordinate officials for violating the court order by regulating milk prices under the Price Control and Prevention of Profiteering and Hoarding Act 1977 instead of the applicable law in the field. Headed by Justice Ghulam Sarwar Korai, the bench issued notice to the commissioner and his subordinates for August 6.

Ramazan Bachat Bazaar

The same bench also issued contempt notice to the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation authorities on Tuesday for failing to take action against the illegal Ramazan Bachat Bazaar being held in Korangi in violation of the restraining order earlier passed by the court.

The court also appointed court’s Nazir to inspect the site to determine whether or not the Bachat Bazaar were being organised and to submit a report before August 1.

Shaikh Habib and Gulzar Ahmed, office-bearers of the Korangi’s Anjum Shopkeepers, had gone to the court against the illegal bazaar being organised by Abdul Rauf, whose no objection certificate was cancelled by the local administration.

On Friday, the SHC directed Abdul Rauf not to organise the Bachat Bazaar illegally. The petitioners, however, alleged that Rauf was still doing his business in violation of the court’s order.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 31st, 2013. 

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