Sugar to be sold for Rs84 after consignment reaches Pindi

RAWALPINDI: Sugar will be sold in Rawalpindi markets for Rs84 per kilogram starting today (Wednesday), following the arrival of a consignment from Karachi Port.

The provincial government released 779 metric tons of sugar to the Rawalpindi district after a month-long sugar crisis, to sell in the open market for Rs84 per kg.

Sugar was being sold for Rs110 per kg in the open market, while people were queuing outside Utility Stores to buy the commodity at a subsidised price of Rs70 per kg.

However, Utility Store outlets were only selling 5kg bags of sugar instead of 1kg packs.

Additional Deputy Commissioner General Zaheer Anwar Jappa told Dawn that sugar prices would gradually decline in the open market now that imported sugar from Karachi has reached the city and distribution to vendors has begun.

He said the district’s requirement was 150 metric tons per week, so 779 metric tons would be more than enough. He added that the district administration would check that sugar is being sold for Rs84 per kg.

Mr Jappa added that sugarcane crushing season would begin on Nov 10, after which more sugar would reach the market soon. He said the government has imported sugar, which will be enough for some months.

Consumers can register complaints if sugar is not being sold at the price determined by the administration, he said, adding that the government would ensure that all the shopkeepers sell sugar at the fixed price.

Deputy Commissioner retired Capt Anwarul Haq said that price magistrates in the district raided 769 shops and fined 122 shopkeepers Rs250,000 for overcharging.

He directed price magistrates to speed up the drive against the price hike and overcharging for edibles in the district. He said any shopkeeper found to be overcharging would face cases and would be sent to jail, while their shops sealed immediately.

Mr Haq also visited Lalazar Market and checked the weights and the quality and prices of food sold in various shops.

Over 50pc GB polling stations ‘sensitive’, Senate panel told

ISLAMABAD: Over half of the polling stations being established for Nov 15 elections in Gilgit-Baltistan have been categorised as sensitive, a Senate panel was informed on Tuesday.

The GB chief secretary told the Senate Standing Committee on Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan that out of the total 1,141 polling stations, 577 had been identified as sensitive, with 297 of them highly sensitive.

The data shared with the panel reveals that 125 out of the 208 polling stations in Gilgit have been declared as sensitive, including 48 highly sensitive.

The situation appears to be comparatively better in Ghizer district where 62 out of a total of 143 polling stations have been declared as sensitive, with 31 of them as highly sensitive. In Hunza, 20 out of the total 64 polling stations have been categorised as sensitive, of which 11 are highly sensitive. In Nagar district, the total number of polling stations is 61 out of which 22 are sensitive including nine highly sensitive.

Elections in the region are set for Nov 15

In Skardu, 103 out of the total 181 polling stations have been declared as sensitive, of which 57 are highly sensitive. In Ghanche, the total number of polling stations is 49 out of which as many as 30 have been declared as sensitive, including 16 as highly sensitive.

In Shigar, 24 out of the total 61 polling stations have been declared as sensitive, of which 12 are highly sensitive. In Kharmang, 27 out of the total 39 polling stations have been categorised as sensitive, 16 of them as highly sensitive.

Diamer appears to be a major trouble spot where only four out of the total 141 polling stations have been categorised as normal.

The panel was informed that in November, some high altitude areas received heavy snowfall, requiring additional arrangements for transportation of election materials, polling staff and returning officers. Helicopters will be requisitioned from the army for arrangements in these areas.

Briefing the committee on the steps taken for transparency of the elections, the chief secretary pointed out that the chief election commissioner of GB had issued a notification on May 18 banning executive authority from postings and announcement of fresh development schemes.

He said that two all-party conferences were held on July 7 and August 26 for reaching consensus among political parties on the conduct and schedule of elections.

He said under section 238 of the Elections Act, 2017, extended to Gilgit-Baltistan on May 15, the CEC had invited observers including Fafen to monitor elections. He said the code of conduct for contesting candidates and political parties had already been issued and electoral rolls had also been updated on the demand of political parties.

Biden, Trump both predict victory as president alleges theft

US President Donald Trump on Wednesday said he expected a “big win” and accused Democrats of trying to steal the election after rival Joe Biden also predicted victory.

“We are up big, but they are trying to steal the election. We will never let them do it. Votes cannot be cast after the polls are closed,” Trump wrote on Twitter moments after Biden told supporters he expected to win.

Twitter, which has vowed to act against false information, quickly flagged Trump’s tweet accusing theft.

The social media giant labeled the Trump tweet, saying “some or all of the content shared in this Tweet is disputed and might be misleading about an election or other civic process”.

The president has long charged, with no evidence, that mail-in ballots are a way to cheat in the election.

Mail-in ballots, sent due to health concerns during the Covid-19 health crisis, are expected to favor Biden and in some states were being counted later.

Trump appeared to be responding to Biden, who moments earlier told his supporters to be patient.

“We believe we are on track to win this election,” Biden said to honks of approval in his home state of Delaware. “It ain’t over till every vote is counted,”

“It’s not my place or Donald Trump’s place to say who won this election.” Biden said he was confident at winning Arizona, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — all states carried by Trump in 2016.