Sugar prices in the Rawalpindi district have risen to a new high of Rs170 per kg, forcing several small confectionaries to suspend their shops’ operations in different areas.
Retailers in over 50 areas have hung ‘sugar not available’ signboards to avoid being fined by the price magistrates.
A locally produced 50kg bag of sugar has risen to Rs 8,000, while seven wholesale supply stalls set up to sell imported sugar by Deputy Commissioner (DC) Rawalpindi Muhammad Ali have failed to cater to the needs of the public.
The daily consumption of sugar in the district is 10,000 bags, while the stalls are being supplied only 4,000 sugar bags daily.
The acute shortage has seen customers queuing up in long lines at the stalls, but they run out of the commodity by noon.
The administration has set up four imported sugar sell points in the Ganjmandi wholesale market and three in different cantonment areas.
The city and cantonment residents purchase the commodity from the stalls at Rs 87.50 and 87.20 per kg, while the retailers have been officially instructed to sell sugar at the rate of Rs 90 per kg.
Rawalpindi DC has appointed Karyana Merchant Association Head Pervaiz Butt as the in-charge of the imported sugar supply chain.
While talking to The Express Tribune, he said that with only 4,000 bags of sugar available against a daily requirement of 10,000, stock runs out in just a few hours.
Meanwhile, Karyana shop owners including Khursheed Nasir and Ajmal Kiyani have said that they cannot purchase the commodity at Rs 150-160 per kg and sell it at Rs 90 per kg. Therefore, the retailers said they have stopped selling the daily-use commodity at their shops.
The citizens have also lost their tempers on the continued crisis.
Ajmal Satti, Feroz Shah, and Barkat Ahmed said the government should have foreseen and handled the predicament a month earlier, citing it as an open example of bad governance.
They also demanded strict action against the sugar mills that have created an artificial shortage and have made the consumers’ lives miserable.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 9th, 2021.