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Flour prices be made ‘affordable’

Islamabad: The Supreme Court ordered the federal and provincial governments on Monday to take immediate measures to ensure the availability of flour and other foodstuff at affordable prices.

A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry had taken up an application by Jamaat-i-Islami’s secretary general Liaquat Baloch, who was represented by Advocate Taufeeq Asif.
The application was filed after the leader received a letter from Malik Mohammad Nazeer of Chakwal who had pleaded that wheat flour was being sold at Rs42 per kilogram, while the commodity was available for Rs13 last year.

A lawyer present in the courtroom said the price had increased to Rs48.
The court asked the provincial chief secretaries and the commissioner of Islamabad to arrange meetings with the Ministry of the National Food Security and ensure the application of Article 38 of the constitution about promoting social and financial wellbeing of the citizen.

Mr Shah said the wheat support price for 2012-13 had been fixed at Rs1,200 per 40kg and flour should be sold at Rs32, but the prices varied because of inflation and increase in cost of fertilisers, oil and electricity.

The court said Section 3 of the Foodstuff Control Act, 1958, conferred the authority upon the government to build a mechanism but it appeared that the provision was not being adhered to, resulting in lax monitoring and control on the prices.

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