Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif on Monday warned vendors at Ramazan Bazaars against overcharging.
“People will not be left at the mercy of profiteers. I will personally monitor the price of daily use items in Ramazan,” the chief minister told the media after visiting Ramazan Bazaars in Okara district as well as in Township, Lahore.
Sharif said an effective system of monitoring had been developed to supervise 346 Ramazan Bazaars. He regretted that prices decreased on religious festivals across the world but the opposite was true in Pakistan.
Earlier, the chief minister paid a surprise visit to a Ramazan Bazaar in Okara. He inspected the prices and quality of several commodities on sale.
An official statement said the chief minister had visited the bazaar without any protocol and “even the district administration and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz office-bearers were not informed about his arrival”.
Sharif talked to consumers and sought their views on the price and quality of commodities. He expressed concerns over unavailability of chicken at the market and asked the authorities to immediately provide meat for people.
The chief minister expressed displeasure to find a stall where prices were not displayed and ordered the market staff to ensure that price tags were displayed at every stall.
He was dismayed at poor traffic management and encroachments at Mehboob Alam Chowk and sought a report from the Sahiwal commissioner and regional police officer.
The chief minister later went to the Township Ramzan Bazaar in Lahore. He took notice of the short supply of potatoes and directed the administration to take steps to ensure availability of the vegetable.
He asked the market staff to ensure provision of necessary items at fixed rates. He said the price of chicken at Ramazan Bazaar should be at least Rs20 lower than the market rate.
The chief minister also visited a fair price shop and said he was pleased to see the quality of fruits and vegetables there. He said fair price shops had helped provide quality fruits and vegetables to citizens at subsidised rates. He said the scope of such shops should be extended to benefit more people.
Sharif listened to the complaints of consumers at the bazaars and issued orders to address their concerns.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 1st, 2014.
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