CHITRAL, July 1: During a private TV talk-show, the managing director of the Utility Stores Corporation of Pakistan reiterated the government’s resolve to ensure the availability of quality and sufficient items in all the outlets at subsidized rates during Ramazan.
Ensuring the availability of daily-use items in the utility stores is a matter of public service but the reality is different in Chitral.
It is very important in every union council’s utility store to ensure the availability of utility items of quality with required quantity in Chitral. Though each utility store caters to a big population, during the holy month of Ramazan the domestic expenses get doubled.
As a result, the people move to utility stores for purchasing the items that are supposed to be available at subsidized rates. The utility stores in Chitral town have been found short of items with Ramazan package but the stores in periphery like Mastuj, Mulkhow, Torkhow, Kosht and Booni have failed to meet the demand of the customers.
The lack of transport system in almost all areas of Chitral makes the people to walk by foot in the hot summer and peak season of harvesting, collecting, thrashing and cultivation for purchasing food items in utility stores. After travelling many kilometers in hot summer and in fasting condition, when the people do not find the required items in utility stores, it makes their life and fasting cumbersome. The purpose of introducing utility stores in the country was to provide quality goods to the people in subsidized prices in one way and doing business on the other.
Government is bound to run these stores with efficacy by ensuring quality and making available the required quantity of utility products. It is important to mention that some stores of Chitral in some areas need more quote of utility items than others because of the increasing sale of items.
When this scribe inquired about the shortage of food items in a utility store at Booni, the keeper said, “this utility store caters to the people coming not only from the villages of union council but also those from Mulkhow, Torkhow, Kosht, Awi and Parwak.” He said these people coming to Booni every day for jobs, official works and attending courts come to the store and purchase the essential items. “We have no official order to decline any customers any items.”
When asked about the sale in the shop he replied that today the sale was Rs.200,000. The main problem in stores like of Booni which supply food items to more customers than their monthly quota, are not provided double quota of utility items on demand basis. The utility store in Chitral is operated and managed poorly and making delays in demands and providing of items in store.
The manager only keeps the door continues to open on the stipulated time, neither has care for the customer, nor quality of product nor the supply and demand in the store. It is very important that the managers’ of the stores should be made active to notice the demands of the customers, quality and availability of utility item in the store. The managers of utility stores should be motivated that the utility stores are welfare-oriented business initiative of government to provided food items to poor segment in subsidized prices in one hand and doing business for the state on the other.
The ‘utility service should not be run like a business as business is run not like a utility service’.–Alhaj Muhammad Khan