Inflation squeezes household budgets


PESHAWAR: Sugar prices reached their record high of Rs125 to Rs130 per kilogramme in the Utility Stores of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province on Wednesday.
This came as a blow to the citizens who are already suffering because of the strike at all tanoors (ovens) to protest the increase in the prices of bread because of a general increase in prices of other items of daily needs. The rise in sugar prices has been attributed to the floods which destroyed many crops in Peshawar valley, Charsadda, Nowshera and Dera Ismail Khan which led to the closure of many sugar mills.
The sudden increase in prices has left the lower and the middle class disoriented. “This supposedly democratic government is busy filling its own bank accounts while the poor are being forced to commit suicide,” Rasheed, a customer said to Pakistan Today while buying his monthly ration from a store. Inflation squeezes household budgets, masses perturbed.
“Only God can save us,” said an exasperated Arif Ullah. “I cannot find any new sources of income to cope with increasing price,” said Waqas while purchasing milk in Saddar Bazaar, adding that the government was expected to control the prices which it has doubled and tripled. “They keep raising the prices of basic necessities when the prices of luxuries such as CDs, mobile phones, television etc keep decreasing,” Noor Ghazan, another consumer reacting over the government policies said.
Prices of vegetables and pulses have also increased threefold. Sara Bibi, a buyer, said potato and dal moong which are mostly brought by poor people are being sold for Rs40 to 45 and Rs80 to 85 per kg respectively.
District Coordination Officer (DCO) Seraj Ahmad, when contacted by Pakistan Today, said it was the responsibility of the central government to monitor the rising prices adding that the prices of bread could not be reduced.
Razzak Abro adds from Karachi, about seventy thousand tonnes of sugar will be brought from the Trading Corporation of Pakistan on emergency basis and will be sold at Rs61 per killogramme, the Sindh government decided in a meeting presided by Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah.
Provincial ministers, secretaries, Karachi Administrator Fazlur Rehman and other officials attended the meeting. It was decided that the DCOs would be asked to furnish their sugar requirements immediately and provide details of disbursement, adding that similar measures would be taken for other commodities. The Sindh Assembly is scheduled to discuss an adjournment motion on Thursday (today) regarding the price hikes in petroleum, sugar and other essential commodities.