Subsidized items “disappear” from Utility Stores of Peshawar

utility stores

PESHAWAR: In the wake of the transition to a caretaker government, the availability of subsidized commodities at city utility stores has significantly diminished, leading to noticeable price hikes and raising concerns among the populace.

Former Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had introduced a targeted subsidy program for essential items such as flour, ghee, sugar, and lentils at utility stores. This initiative allowed consumers to access these goods at preferential rates.

However, it has come to light that since the new caretaker administration took office, the prices of items covered by the Benazir Income Support Program have experienced a striking increase.

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Among the more than 90 utility stores established in the city, only ghee remains accessible at a subsidized price, with other eligible items notably absent.

In the backdrop of this surge in prices, a 10 kg bag of flour has seen its price rise by Rs 248 at utility stores. For example, just a week ago, this bag of flour was priced at Rs 400, but it has now reached Rs 648. Similarly, the cost of sugar per kg has climbed by Rs 30, reaching Rs 100 at utility stores. Notably, discounts of Rs 25 per kg were intended for pulses and rice, but these commodities are also missing from the shelves.

In terms of the broader market, a 10 kg bag of flour previously received a subsidy of Rs 1025 at utility stores, which has now been reduced to Rs 777. Meanwhile, a 10 kg mixed flour bag is presently being retailed at Rs 1425 in the open market.

Concurrently, the ghee subsidy from the general market, which once stood at Rs 130 per kg, has been scaled down to Rs 80. Consequently, ghee is currently being sold at Rs 430 in Peshawar’s general markets.

Furthermore, according to Peshawar’s general market rates, citizens previously benefited from an Rs 85 subsidy on sugar at utility stores. However, this figure has now been decreased to Rs 55.

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