Utility Store System- merits and demerits

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

One thought on “Utility Store System- merits and demerits

  1. Every system introduced by ZA Bhutto proved a failure. Some of them being, 1- He did not accept the results of 1970 elections which are considered to be the freest and fairest in the history of Pakistan. The result was the breakaway of East Pakistan. 2- He drew a wedge of hatred between different sections of the society which generations have to bear. 3. He abruptly nationalized the booming industrial sector of Pakistan bringing it to its knees in no time. 4.He allowed students to be promoted without exams thus corrupting the otherwise sound education system of the country. 5. He talked about the ‘havenots’ in public but in private had deals with the ‘haves’. His cabinet was full of the biggest waderas and Jagirdars of Sindh and Punjab whom he didn’t touch but instead stoked hatred between petty land holders, shop owners etc and tenants, resulting in great loss to both the parties and deep disdain and enmity being the collateral result.
    Talking of utility Stores, it was one of his flawed concept which has drained billions from the exchequer. He never bothered to ensure the proper running of the stores like all his other ventures, leaving them at the mercy of his party workers. Utility Stores run by government is a stupid idea. The government has no business to run a commercial store. This is not communism. If the utility stores with all its’ concessions was run by a private party it would have boomed to the moon, but our government sponsored stores are always crying “loss” and asking for more concessions. Imran Khan initially was deadly against the Utility Stores quoting the same reasons as quoted above, but after the employees protested at the D chowk, he quickly u-turned and gave the loss making organization even more concessions. So far for the standard of governance in Pakistan, whether it was Bhutto or all the way down to Imran Khan has been pathetic. Nothing seems to change in Pakistan.

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