Regulating the prices of food items
The role of price control committees is important in keeping a check on profiteers. On September 11, KP CM Mahmood Khan attended a meeting in which the issue of spiraling prices of essential goods was discussed. The CM said that all shopkeepers were not profiteers. Therefore, they should not be pestered unnecessarily by separate checking by various institutions. He advised that joint checking teams should be formed to monitor prices. These teams should comprise the officials of the district administration (DC, AC), food authority and other related departments. The CM said that a strict eye should be kept on suspected hoarders. The intelligence-based raids on their stores and shops should be conducted. The concerned officials told the CM that from the first to ninth of September, they conducted a province-wide operation. They examined more than 18,000 shops, stores and business units. They saw to it that the traders prominently displayed the price list. They made it sure that the shopkeepers did not indulge in malpractices like black-marketing and hoarding. For violations, collective fines were imposed amounting to a total of Rs38,32,000. As many as 716 units were sealed, whereas 304 FIRs were registered. Regular checking and surprise raids are absolutely necessary. However, the monitoring agencies should not lose sight of the essential human factor. The small-time dealers normally work in rented shops. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, they have faced lockdowns and fines. The influential store-keepers are smart enough to bribe their way out. In these hard times, the small shopkeepers find it hard to make both ends meet. Therefore, the state should have some mercy on them.