SIALKOT

Against the officially fixed prices of rice, the dealers are selling export quality polished rice at Rs150 per kg and unpolished rice at Rs135 per kg in the local markets here, it is learnt.

The price hike is keeping rice out of the reach of common people of in Sialkot, Daska, Satrah, Sambrial, Uggoki, Pasrur, Chawinda, Badiana and surrounding areas. The practice continues unabated due to which the people are much perturbed in this regard.

The dealers are selling 50kg best quality rice bag at Rs7,100 and low quality rice at Rs600 in local markets due to which rice has gone out of the reach of the common. This was a very rapid increase in the rates of the paddy yield in the local markets before the arrival of the fresh yield in the local markets in Sialkot district which is a hub of best quality bumper paddy yield.

The district administration is still unable to take any action against the big rice dealers, who are reportedly influential politically. The officials concerned are only fining the small vendors and street-retailers for selling daily use commodities on inflated rates. The retailers said that they were not overcharging, as they were also getting these food items at higher prices from the wholesale dealers.

"We are only getting nominal profit," they added. They held the wholesale sellers responsible for the hike in the rates of seasonal vegetables and fruit. Meanwhile, shopkeepers have also increased the rates of the bakery items, following the uncontrolled skyrocketing prices of other items. The sale of the daily use commodities on inflated rates is still going despite the efforts being made by the district administration. The officials of district administration are establishing Sasta bazaars for providing maximum relief for the people for three days in a week.

People have expressed grave concern and dismay over the situation and urged Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and others to take a notice of the situation and ensure practical steps to financial relief to the common people.