LAHORE

The middlemen mafia/ commission agents are overcharging Rs40,000 on sale of each truck of vegetable and fruit in the name of  various illegal taxes from all fruit and vegetable markets of Punjab and especially of Lahore, contributing mainly in high price of perishable items.

As per the information collected by The Nation, they grab Rs40 million from only Badami Bagh Fruit Market as more than 1,000 trucks of vegetable and fruit reach there on daily basis from different locations. The taxes being charged from the sellers are in total violation of Punjab Agriculture Products General Rule (PAPGR) (1979) and they burdened ultimately the millions poor consumers. The authorities are helpless in taking action against overcharging by the powerful mafia. As per documents and receipts, the net sale of every truck of fruit and vegetable is Rs656,965. The commission fixed in PAPGR on each tuck is 2.50 per cent—Rs16,245—and after addition of the commission the truck should be soled at Rs673,210.

However, middlemen are taking Rs45,967 (seven per cent) illegal commission on each truck besides an additional Rs9,600 as extortion money in the name of laga/ dali. Thus the agents charge Rs56,587 on sale of every truck which is Rs40,000 more than the original taxes as per law.

 Tahafuz-e-Haqooq Welfare Society has written to the Punjab Chief Minister, agriculture chief secretary and other authorities on different occasions about the illegal commission by the agents but no action had been taken against the powerful mafia.

Chief Minister Office had issued the direction to Administrator Market Committee Lahore for taking action against the illegal commission in December 2014. The direction issued to the administrator read: “Please ensure prompt and strict remedial measures in grater public interest. Matter is much more serious than it appears on surface.” However, unfortunately, no one bothered to stop the overcharging so far.

The society representatives appealed to the prime minister, Punjab chief minister for personally look into the matter and take strict action against the huge overcharging by the powerful mafia. They believe that the fruit and vegetable rates would become affordable by the every Pakistani if the overcharging stopped.