PESHAWAR: Naanbais (bread makers) of the provincial capital went on indefinite strike on Wednesday to press their demand of a 20 per cent increase in the price of naan.
Naanbais demanded of the authorities that the price of bread be increased by Re1 to offset the cost of transportation which has increased in the wake of recent hike in petroleum products.
“The price of naan in Rawalpindi and Islamabad is Rs6 but in Peshawar it is still Rs5,” a Naanbai from Peshawar said, “why has the price not been increased in Peshawar as well?”
Ajnuman-e-Nanbian, Peshawar District President, Mohammad Shiraz told that their strike would continue till the authorities announce to increase naan price. “Our strike was successful and almost all the Naanbais across the provincial capital kept their shutters down,” Shiraz said
He alleged that their organisation was the real representatives of Naanbais, not the Al Khidmat Nanbian Association who met the District Coordination Officer (DCO) previously.
According to the Naanbais in Peshawar, the flour they use to make the naan came from Punjab which meant that they had to pay for the transport cost as well. “We are paying at least Rs70 in fare per bag of flour,” Shiraz said.
Shiraz felt that if the authorities were really interested in public welfare they would give at least 4,000 bags of flour at subsidised rates and also provide gas on a subsidised rate.
“The authorities should distribute the flour on a quota basis through a ration controller at subsidised rate because right now we are purchasing flour from the open market and that is expensive,” Shiraz said.
He also said that each unit
of gas has also gone up by Rs70, as well as electricity, which has made matters worse for them.
The District Coordination Officer (DCO) Peshawar, Siraj Ahmed Khan, told that they had arrested at least 25 Naanbais and that they had also held a meeting with the Al Khidmat Nanbian Association, which represents at least 800 Naanbais across the city.
“We sealed four tandoors in the morning, the tandoors that are a part of the Al Khidmat Nanbian Association have agreed to open their shops, the rest will be sealed,” Siraj said.
Meanwhile, the general public had to face problems due to the closure of tandoors and restaurant owners have to serve naans from the previous night.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 11th, 2010.
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