This system was introduced by Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto in the early 70s and also included ‘ paki pakai Roti’ in the cities. The roti system was later abandoned but the Utility system continued to operate and later expanded to village level but according to the store workers there are about 300 items included in this chain. Some of them are essential food items like atta, ghee, pulses, sugar, soaps, washing powder, black tea, green tea, salt, cooking oil etc. but there are so many unnecessary items in the shelves of the stores that are not essential items but luxury or general articles such as dates, spices, boot polish, shampoo, tooth paste, brush, pampers, powders of various kind, pastes, sivian etc. that all such items have been included in the list that subsidy will have to be applicable and these must be cheaper than open market. The list of 300 items should be shortened and only the most essential food items (around 20 items) be focused and the rebate or subsidy on them be doubled instead of the long list. Many things are sub standard. Essential items like sugar, Atta and ghee are not always available and when such a truck arrives the queue extends to many kilometers and people spend full day and curse the system.
Another defect in this system is that the salesmen don’t issue receipts of the items bought there. This is highly objectionable. We have seen lower price of a cake of soap in one store and higher price in another store. The prices are not equal all over the area. It means that there are loopholes in the system and open chances of fraudulent deals. In the distant valley Utility stores the salesman informs his friends and relatives and gives them a fixed time of the night to collect the items from a fresh consignment and by the morning the supply is out. This goes to a few individuals and shop keepers who sell the items usurped from the store – a malpractice depriving the deserving poor inhabitants or disabled people. Receipt system must be introduced with immediate effect to make sale and services transparent. .. Prof. Rahmat Karim Baig, Chitral 23 Jun 2021