KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Tuesday directed all the stakeholders including dairy farmers, retailers and the administration to sort out the issue regarding fixation of dairy product prices.
A two-judge bench, headed by Justice Aqeel Ahmed Abbasi, was hearing a petition filed by Muhammad Imran Shehzad, a civil rights campaigner, who moved the court for reduction of rates of dairy products and formation of a taskforce to regulate their prices.
The lawyer representing the dairy farmers said that they were suffering from financial loss on sale of milk at Rs 85 per liter. He said that the rate had been fixed as per federal act despite the fact that the provincial law was existing. The commissioner Karachi had informed the judges that the rates of dairy products were set on the recommendations of all stakeholders including the dairy farmers.
The arguments between the parties brought the anger of the court as the one of the judges remarked, “You people are fighting on price fixation but nobody cares the consumers who were consuming water in the name of milk”
The court also questioned the quality of the milk being provided to the citizens, asking the concerned authority what was the criteria for ascertaining the quality.
The bench directed the commissioner to convene a meeting with all stakeholders to sort out this issue.
Earlier, the petitioner had informed the court that authorities concerned were unable to ensure selling of milk at administration’s fixed prices, adding that dairy products were not being sold under Price Control and Prevention Profiteering and Hoarding Act, 1977.
According to the petitioner, the SHC in August 2016 directed the authorities concerned to form a mechanism to control and maintain the prices of dairy product; however, the milk prices were increased in violation of court’s earlier order.
The court was requested by the petitioner to direct the law enforcement agencies, including Rangers and police, to ensure the sale of milk at reasonable prices.