State responsible for edible items supply every citizen: PM

Prime minister reviews steps for reducing prices of essential items

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ISLAMABAD
Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday directed that a “Special Cell” in the Ministry of National Food Security be set up with immediate effect for timely decisions on the assessment of demand and supply of essential items. PM Imran was chairing a meeting, wherein the present situation of prices of essential items particularly flour, ghee, sugar, and other commodities and the steps taken regarding control on its prices were reviewed.
Provincial chief secretaries in the meeting briefed the prime minister about availability of flour in their respective provinces and its prices. They informed that the country’s wheat situation was satisfactory after the Pakistan Agricultural Storage and Services Corporation (PASSCO) supplied the commodity to the provinces. Presently, there was no complaint of shortage of wheat in the country, they added.
PM Imran stressed that all possible administrative and other steps be taken to control the prices of essential edible items. He directed that new technology be used to reduce the difference in prices in wholesale and retail markets and that the differences be checked. The premier also directed to make border management more effective to check smuggling of wheat, flour, and fine flour. The meeting decided that strict action would be taken against those elements involved in smuggling and the government officials assisting them in this crime. The prime minister said administrative steps should be made more effective so that hoarding and profiteering should be checked. Further, he was informed about present situation of ghee prices, particularly after the government decision to defer implementation of axel load policy for a year.
The PM directed that following the postponement of axel load policy, a reduction in prices of ghee must be ensured so that public could be provided relief. He said it was the state’s responsibility to ensure the availability of edible items to every citizen and that every possible step should be taken so that no one went hungry.
The meeting decided that a place should be provided for cultivators at tehsil level by the government where they could sell their commodities without any fee and expenditures. The prime minister said besides taking effective steps by the provincial administration against profiteers and hoarders, a weekly report about essential items at district and tehsil level should also be sent to the PM Office so that real prices of the commodities could be checked.
The PM called for a timely assessment of supply of commodities due to climate effects to check shortage of basic edible items. The meeting decided for utilisation of utility stores in an effective way so that supply of essential items to the people could be ensured. The chief commissioner for Islamabad briefed the meeting about launching of a mobile application, Drust Daam, in the federal capital to control price hike and difference of rates in the markets.
The meeting decided to introduce the same system in big cities of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP). It decided to introduce the Drust Dam app in Abbottabad, Peshawar, Mardan, and Dera Ismail Khan, as well as Rawalpindi, Multan, and Lahore. The meeting was attended by Food Security Minister Sahibzada Mehboob Sultan, Planning Minister Khusro Bakhtiar, Punjab Food Minister Sami Ullah Chaudhry, KP Food Minister Haji Qalandar Khan Lodhi, Federal Secretary National Food Security Dr Muhammad Hashim, and provincial chief secretaries.

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