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Milk sellers divided over price hike after crackdown

Milk sellers divided over price hike after crackdown

KARACHI: A swift and stern action taken by the city administration against profiteers selling milk at Rs90 and Rs95 per litre by sending some of them to prison, many others to police lock-ups and imposing heavy fines on others, has cracked the milk cartels with one group agreeing to sell milk at the old rate while the other one threatening to suspend milk supply to the city beginning on Wednesday evening.

Following the crackdown on milk sellers many shops were sealed and many milk shopkeepers fearing their arrest also pulled the shutters down in different parts of the city on Tuesday.

Various representatives of milk sellers met commissioner of Karachi Shoaib Siddiqui in the evening to discuss the issue and later agreed to sell it at the old rate of Rs 84 per litre. Following the agreement the crackdown was called off. The official rate, however, is Rs 70 per litre.

Responding to Dawn queries, Karachi Commissioner Shoaib Siddiqui, who met various stakeholders of the milk business, said that after the milk sellers assured him that they would sell milk at the old price the crackdown against profiteers was suspended and the shops that had been sealed would be unsealed and no more action would be taken against law-abiding milk sellers.

He said that no one would be allowed to enhance the price of this essential commodity arbitrarily. However, if the dairy farmers, wholesalers and retailers had any genuine issues, those could be sorted out.

A representative of the dairy farmers, Sikander Nagori, said that dairy farmers had been misled and that they took the decision of price increase in haste without giving it a serious thought. He said he had agreed with the commissioner that the dairy farmers would sell milk at the old rate, says a statement issued by the commissioner’s office.

Talking to Dawn a milk retailers association representative, Hafiz Nisar, whose shop had been sealed and a warrant of arrest had been issued for him, said that his association members were law-abiding citizens and they had assured the commissioner that milk would be sold at the old price.

He said if the dairy farmers supplied milk at the new price, the retailers would inform the city administration about it and would not buy milk at the new price or even shut down the shops and would do as the administration advised them.

Published in Dawn, September 9th, 2015

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