KARACHI: Utility Stores Corporation (USC) Ramazan package, aimed at providing essential kitchen items to consumers at subsidised rates during the holy month, has received overwhelming response from consumers.It may be recalled here that USC is offering around Rs 2 billion Ramazan Relief Package, envisaging subsidy on essential food items to the people during the holy month. Food items including flour, ghee, oil, gram pulse are being provided at subsidised rates while chickpeas, gram flour and dates would be available at reduced prices at the outlets of USC throughout the country.
The relief package was implemented with the advent of the holy month and would remain effective till Eidul-Fitr during which consumers across the country would avail around Rs 2 billion worth of subsidy.It transpired during a visit to some of the outlets of the corporation situated in different areas of Karachi that almost all outlets of the corporation across the city are receiving large number of buyers with long list of subsidised items they intend to purchase.
“Daily sales of all subsidised items have gained tremendous boost since start of the holy month as consumers have been flocking the outlets throughout the day putting enormous strain on the deputed staff to help facilitate buyers,” said an official in charge of a USC outlet situated at the Defence area.Unprecedented sales were witnessed during the last one week as from Rs 0.5 million to Rs 0.7 million daily sales, it has crossed more than Rs 2 million manifesting maximum number of consumers willing to take advantage of USC Ramzan package.
In response to a question the USC official claimed that among other items sugar, flour, basen, pulses, different brands of tea, dates, cooking oil and ghee are in extremely high demand mainly on account of vast price difference compared to similar items available in the open market at high rates.Citing instances in this regard, he said that sugar available at USC outlets is priced at Rs 55 per kg, which is far lower compared with open market rates of Rs 72 to Rs 74 per kg. Consequently it has virtually become an arduous task to fulfill enhancing sugar demand of customers.
Similarly a 10 kg packet of flour is available at USC outlets at Rs 300, which is almost Rs 100 to Rs 150 less than the open market rates.Sales of other items—which are also in high demand, include ghee and cooking oil available at USC at around Rs 103 which is Rs 40 to Rs 50 per kg lower compared with the one available in the open market.Officials of another USC outlet situated at Frere Road, Saddar acknowledged about outstanding response expressed by the area consumers, who have been flocking in large number at the outlet since the start of the holy month.
Demand for some essential kitchen items including sugar, flour, cooking oil, dates has surpassed the previous trend and at times it has become virtually impossible to serve majority of the customers who tend to react strongly in the wake of non-availability of their required items.Talking to the scribe some of the customers at the outlet lodged their complaints about quality of subsidised items claiming that compared to open market, they are inferior in quality compelling them to change their mind for their second visit to USC for making subsidised purchases.They urged the concerned authorities to take cognisance of the sub-standard quality of some of the items to alleviate grievances of buyers. – Dailytimes