Tandoor owners in Lahore increase roti price while govt looks on

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LAHORE: Tandoor owners across the city have increased the prices of roti and naan by Rs6 and Rs8 after the city district administration rejected their demand for new prices to be notified.

Dawn has learned that in posh areas, tandoor owners are charging even higher rates.

People have criticised the current prices, with roti being sold at Rs20 and plain naan at Rs30, claiming that the prices may further increase to Rs25 and Rs35 due to rising flour prices and other issues.

Arshad, a resident of Mughalpura, expressed his frustration, stating that the cost of roti has increased from Rs15 to Rs20 and may soon reach Rs25. He lamented the lack of checks and control on skyrocketing prices, making life increasingly difficult.

Arslan, a resident of Wahdat Colony, criticised both tandoor owners and the officials for not taking any action for the benefit of the poor. He mentioned that a naan, which used to cost around Rs22, was now being sold for Rs30, and during his visit to Model Town, he found the price to be Rs35. Similarly, roti is being sold at Rs25 in that area. He urged the city administration to crack down on the inflated prices.

There are approximately 13,000 tandoors and 5,000 dhabas (small hotels/restaurants) operating in Lahore. Tandoors sell naan and roti, while dhabas sell roti, cooked vegetables and pulses.

Aftab Aslam Gill, president of the Mutahidda Nanbai Association, confirmed the sale of roti (100 grams) for Rs20 and naan for Rs30 in Lahore. He also acknowledged that the rates in posh localities were higher than in the rest of the city.

He argued that the city administration had notified prices of roti and naan as Rs14 and Rs22 in November but had failed to revise them despite significant increases in flour prices, tandoors using LPG due to gas load shedding, and other issues.

Mr Gill stated that when the administration did not revise the rates despite requests, tandoor owners had no choice but to increase prices on their own due to the rising prices of flour and other items.

He mentioned that the price of a 20kg bag of simple flour recently increased from Rs2,550 to Rs2,650, and with the gas loadshedding, they were forced to use costlier LPG.

Gill informed Dawn that the association had submitted an application to the Lahore administration requesting the prices of roti and nan to be increased and notified at Rs25 and Rs35, respectively.

He said the association’s representatives had visited the city administration office a few days ago, but no one met them. He warned that if the administration continued to neglect their demands, tandoor owners would have no choice but to increase the rates themselves, considering the steep rise in flour and other item prices.

A spokesman for the Lahore administration refuted the notion and stated that the price control magistrates were taking action against those selling roti and nan at rates violating the notified prices. He explained that while they were considering the application from the tandoor owners, no decision had been made yet to revise the rates due to the increasing flour prices.

Published in Dawn, May 5th, 2023