It is cheaper to driver than be healthy in Pakistan: Milk now costs more than petrol or diesel there!
There are allegations of middlemen and milk-sellers profiteering in the run-up to the Islamic celebration of Muharram.
This seems to be especially true for the city of Karachi. Milk now costs Rs 120-140 per litre, with local news reports claiming some are charging as much as Rs 150 per litre.
Meanwhile, news agency IANS said in a report on Wednesday, September 11: “Petrol was selling Rs 113 per litre, while diesel was Rs 91 per litre in Pakistan, just two days ago.”
This comes less than half a year after the cost of tomatoes in the country reached Rs 300 per kg, barely days after India stopped trade with it in the aftermath of a terrorist attack on one of its military camps in Jammu and Kashmir.
Pakistan milk crisis deepens
According to a report in the Pakistan-based publication News International, the demand for milk in Karachi is around 5,000 kilolitre (kl), but the supply is only 4,000 kl.
Sabeels (stalls) are generally set up in urban centres across the country to provide milk, juices and water to people who participate in Muharram processions. People running them are now being accused of inflating the price of the milk.
The News International report quoted a retailer in Karachi as saying: “Currently, milk is being sold at high prices only to those people who are buying it in bulk for the sabeels and not to the regular customers.”
Three dairy bodies — Karachi Dairy Farmer Association, Dairy Farmer Association, and Karachi Dairy and Cattle Farmers Association — currently supply milk to Karachi.
They recently increased the wholesale price of milk to Rs 110. Since retail price of milk in Karachi is roughly 10 percent more than wholesale price, milk is being sold at sabeels for Rs 120-140.
What are the authorities doing?
Local reports say the task of setting a ceiling for milk prices usually falls on the city commissioner. In the case of Karachi, it is Iftikhar Shallwani, and he is being accused of not doing enough to control prices.
Shallwani’s office reportedly set the price of milk at Rs 94 per litre, but the three aforementioned associations are apparently not following the order.
He told the News International about the high milk prices: “Shops are raided and fines are imposed.” However, he did not specify exactly what action was taken and against how many shops the action was taken.
[Note: All prices are in Pakistani rupees. Current exchange rate: $1 = Rs 156.50]