Just days after announcing subsidies on food items in Ramazan Bazaars, the federal government is facing hardships in maintaining them.
The advent of Ramazan has brought an increase in demand for onions, tomatoes, and lemons. Low supply of these items has compelled the government to put an unannounced limit on buying from Sasta Bazar.
In these bazars across the country, each consumer has been restricted to buy not more than one kg of tomatoes, one kg of onions and 250 grams of lemon at a time.
The move has attracted a public outcry, and people are calling Ramazan Bazaar more of a failed political stunt than a relief program.
The lemons are being sold at Rs. 500 per kg in the open market, while the approved price for one kg lemons is Rs. 350.
In Ramazan Bazars, lemons are being sold at Rs. 140, with a subsidy of Rs. 210/kg.
Similarly, the federal government is giving a subsidy of Rs. 25 on onions, and Rs. 20 on tomatoes.
The Ramazan Bazar committees are also facing an acute shortage of funds. The Lahore deputy commissioner said he had set aside Rs. 4 million for every market committee in the city, but 30% of the total funds have already been spent in the first three days.
Sources from the Punjab Agricultural Department said the lemon supply was coming from Sindh areas of Nawabshah and Kandoyar and that there was an acute shortage of the citrus fruit across the country.
“In such a scenario, he said, “giving a subsidy of Rs. 200 on lemons was a bad idea.”
The source suggested that an Rs. 50/kg subsidy for lemons will be feasible for the government.