Aslam Iqbal informs CM about departmental performance

LAHORE, Nov 28 (APP): The Punjab government has developed an android mobile phone application ‘Qeemat’ for the consumers in order to control and monitor quality and prices of food items in Model and Sahulat Bazaars.

Talking to APP here Saturday, Provincial Industries and Trade Minister Mian Aslam Iqbal said that through this application, people are informed about prices of edibles daily so that they know the current price of a specific item.

The minister mentioned that a toll-free number 0800-02345 had also been allocated for people to register their complaints regarding inflated prices and profiteering, and the relevant department takes action on their complaints within two hours.

Responding to a question, Mian Aslam Iqbal said the provincial government had also promulgated anti-hoarding ordinance 2020 under which hoarders were being awarded non-bailable punishment of three years imprisonment. While, commissioners and deputy commissioners have been empowered to raid any godown to check hoarding, and the special magistrate is bound to decide about the confiscated/seized goods within 30 days.

Besides, 50 per cent earning/sale amount of the confiscated/seized goods will be deposited in the government exchequer, he added. Under the ordinance, he continued, all the dealers were bound to provide all record of sale, purchase and stocks to the officer concerned and in case of provision of any fake document/record, the respective dealer will have to pay fine up to Rs one million.

To a question, he said that of course, other daily use items and edibles were available at fixed prices of the government in the Sahulat Bazaars. The relevant government departments are also ensuring regular supply of imported sugar in Sahulat and Model Bazaars as well as in the open markets so that consumer can buy it at subsidized price.

The minister elaborated that government has established 375 Sahulat Bazaars across the province including 31 in Lahore where 20kg and 10 kg flour bags are available at Rs 840 and Rs 420 respectively.

“We have also ensured availability of 20 kg wheat flour bag at fix price of Rs 860 in the open market,” he said and asserted that Food Department is also ensuring supply of 25,000 metric tons of wheat to grinding mills daily on subsidized rate.

More than 32 Model Bazaars are also providing relief on edibles to the consumers in various cities of the province. While strategy has also been worked out to expend the scope of Model Bazaars at Tehsil level and locations are also being marked for establishing such bazaars in cities lacking this facility. Muft Kisan Stalls (Free Farmers Stalls) have also been set up in these bazaars to facilitate the farmers and growers. At these stalls, the farmers can sale their produces ie fruit and vegetables, he maintained.

Responding to a query, Mian Aslam Iqbal said that over 45 million people visit 32 Model Bazaars every year to get food item and commodities at subsidized rates, while around 1925 families have managed to earn their livelihood in these model bazaars.

He said that Consumer Courts had also been established in 17 districts of the province, while establishment of Punjab Price Control Authority is in final stage.

The government has also taken comprehensive measures for free delivery of fruit and vegetable in five major cities ie. Lahore, Rawalpindi, Gujranwala, Faisalabad and Multan. In order to monitor the prices of essential items, he said, third party validation is also ensured through existing monitoring mechanism, and teams of Urban Unit, Special Branch, Provincial Industries and Trade Department.