100 officers get magisterial powers to rein in profiteering in city.

KARACHI -- Over 100 section officers (SOs) of different provincial departments on Friday were designated magisterial powers to take action against profiteering and hoarding in Karachi alone during Ramazan after the Sindh governor promulgated an ordinance to implement the official price control mechanism during the holy month.

The decision to amend the anti-profiteering and anti-hoarding law was taken by the provincial government as the reports of overcharging consumers for essential commodities, especially edible items, flood the social and mass media.

Almost in every part of the city, retailers kept on charging consumers the prices of their own choice, throwing the official rate lists in the dustbin.

Since the district administration did not have enough officers with designated powers to enforce the official prices, there was little action against the profiteers and hoarders.

With a considerable increase in the workforce, the provincial government expects to control the price hike effectively.

On Friday, Sindh Governor Kamran Tessori promulgated the Sindh Essential Commodities Price Control and Prevention Hoarding (Amendment) Ordinance, 2023 to amend the anti-profiteering and hoarding act of 2006.

An amendment in Section 2 of the act enabled the provincial government to designate authorised officers who would be empowered to arrest the profiteers and hoarders. Earlier, only the assistant commissioners were vested with such powers.

Sindh Chief Secretary Sohail Rajput told Dawn that the designated officers were also authorised to confiscate the goods of the profiteers and hoarders and to auction them.

He said that over 100 sections officers were designated with the powers under the ordinance and deputed in seven districts of the city to ensure price control during Ramazan.

Besides, the chief secretary said, officers from the agriculture, labour and food departments were deputed in each district of the province to check and enforce the price control.

Up to 15 officers were deputed in each district in the interior of the province in addition to the assistant commissioners who were already authorised to initiate action against the profiteer and hoarders, he added.

He said the designated officers would report to the respective deputy commissioners, adding that the additional workforce would help beef up the price control mechanism.

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