149 fertilizer dealers arrested in Punjab’s market regulation drive

In a decisive move to regulate the fertilizer market, Punjab’s Chief Secretary Zahid Akhtar Zaman has ordered strict supervision over the sale of fertilizers to combat overcharging. This directive comes in response to widespread reports of hoarding and profiteering among fertilizer dealers.

During a meeting at the Civil Secretariat, chaired by the Chief Secretary, the recent actions against these unethical practices were reviewed. The meeting, which focused on the prices of food items and fertilizer market regulation, led to the decision of deploying staff from the Punjab Land Record Authority (PLRA) at fertilizer sale points to verify agricultural land ownership.

Zaman has emphasized the importance of a comprehensive campaign by the agriculture department to educate on the proportionate use of fertilizers. He instructed a heightened crackdown on those hoarding and profiteering fertilizers across the province. It was reported that in the last two weeks, 149 fertilizer dealers have been arrested, and 265 cases have been lodged against them.

The Chief Secretary has also instructed all deputy commissioners to engage price control magistrates to ensure the availability of food items at pre-set prices and enforce the display of rate lists at all shops. A specific report on the higher prices of onions and pulses in Sahiwal was requested from the divisional commissioner.

To ensure stability in the prices of vegetables and fruits, Zaman urged deputy commissioners to monitor the auction process in agriculture markets closely and keep tabs on supply, demand, and pricing.

A report presented by the urban unit compared commodity prices over the last three years. The secretary of agriculture informed the meeting that the crackdown on fertilizer hoarders and profiteers is ongoing, and there is a recommendation to cancel the licenses of 50 fertilizer dealers.

The meeting was attended by administrative secretaries of various departments, including food, livestock, and transport, along with the additional IG Special Branch. Divisional commissioners and deputy commissioners participated via video link, demonstrating the extensive coordination across multiple levels of government in addressing this issue.

Source: Business Recorder

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