Sugar disappeared from retail store shelves after the government set its selling price at Rs 85 per kg. Therefore, the Punjab government launched a crackdown against the sugar mafia in an attempt to end the shortage in and around the provincial capital.
The government said those who failed to meet the official rate were fined and even jailed.
Shopkeepers said we can’t afford to sell it at Rs 85 per kg after buying it at the wholesale market at Rs100 per kg. The new wholesale sugar rate rose to Rs130 per kg, as the price of a 50 kg bag of the wholesale commodity was quoted at Rs 6,500 over the weekend, they said.
Although the commodities remained sold in the retail market, the government cracked down on the mafia in some areas in order to manage the sugar supply chain. The recently passed law allows the government to invade any place where more than two tons of sugar have been stored without informing the district administration.
Subsequently, more than 660 bags of 50-kilogram of sugar were seized in Multan, while 590 bags were seized from Begum Kot and Garhi Shahu in Lahore.
However, According to Lahore’s deputy commissioner, Mudassar Raiz, the seized sugar bags would be sold to retailers at a wholesale rate of Rs83 per kilo.
Sugar, purchased from sugar mills at a rate of Rs80 per kg, is being subsidized and sold at Ramazan bazaars at Rs65 per kg, creating confusion among consumers about the real price of the goods. This is also leading to long lines of consumers in Ramazan bazaars to buy the goods at a cheaper price.