Overcharging at peak as official rate list yet to be enforced

December 09, 2022

LAHORE:Majority of the fruit and vegetable sellers are overcharging as the district government has failed to implement the official rate list in the provincial metropolis. The problem is witnessed...

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LAHORE:Majority of the fruit and vegetable sellers are overcharging as the district government has failed to implement the official rate list in the provincial metropolis. The problem is witnessed in almost every city locality but poor and low middle class localities are more affected as the people living in these areas have very limited income resources.

A visit to various city localities revealed that majority of the fruit and vegetable sellers are doing overcharging and most of them not bothered to display the official price list. In case any consumer asked about the official rate list, these shopkeepers gathered to misbehave with the said consumer. Green Town is one of the said localities where such incidents happened daily. A large number of fruit and vegetable sellers on carts have encroached the main bazaar as well as the Baghriyan Road and none of them have displayed the official price list. Even the proper shops of fruit and vegetable sellers in the areas like Umer Chowk, Township Main Market near Madina Masjid, Lajna Chowk at College Road, PIA Road, Faisal Town, Johar Town, Model Town, Wahdat Road, Gulshan-e-Ravi, Iqbal Town and almost every other city locality is facing the blatant overcharging of the shopkeepers.

The price of onion is once again out of reach of the common man as first grade onion is being sold at over Rs250 per kg in the open market while the official price is around Rs200. Citizens said the ongoing inflation has made it difficult for them to buy fruits. Apples are being sold at over Rs350 per kilo and orange is being sold at over Rs200 per dozen.

People said that their income is limited and the inflation is becoming unlimited and they are not able to buy onion, tomato, chicken or fruit these days. Official price lists are not being implemented anywhere, due to which the burden of inflation is increasing on us, said Mrs Sajid, a resident of Faisal Town. She was purchasing fruits from a shop on Link Road Model Town and said the prices are too high to afford.

The fruit and vegetable sellers were charging about Rs50 to Rs80 extra from the prices mentioned in the price list issued by market committee on daily basis, alleged several citizens. This showed complete failure of the district administration, said Khurram, a resident of Umer Chowk Township. He said today he bought onion at Rs300 per kilogram and when he asked about the official rate list, the shopkeeper thrashed him and told him to go and lodge complaint to the Deputy Commissioner, Lahore. He said the district administration should display banners with numbers of respective price control magistrate so that the citizens could call them and lodge a complaint or at least a UAN number should be dedicated for such complaints. He further said that the complainant should be involved in the process of action against the shopkeeper who was overcharging. “This will increase the confidence of citizens in the administration and will also create a fear among those who are overcharging,” he added.

On the other hand, sources in district administration claimed that magisterial powers were given to many officers but most of them preferred to stay at their offices instead of visiting their respective areas.

An officer with magisterial powers, on condition of anonymity, said that the officers given magisterial powers were over-burdened, as they also had to do the work of their own departments due to which price control had become the second priority of these officers. He said there was no shortage of officers but the real shortage was the lack of will to take action against the price hikers.

Citizens said that controlling overcharging was an uphill task and it could only be possible with affective will of administrative control besides exemplary punishments to the shopkeepers involved in this.

Meanwhile, district administration claimed that on the instructions of DC Lahore Muhammad Ali, the officers of district administration were continuing the price inspection. Assistant Commissioner Model Town Ibrahim Arbab conducted price inspection in Allama Iqbal Town and Green Town. He visited these areas after receiving several complaints about increase in prices of vegetables and fruits.

During checking, overcharging was found at one grocery store and five fruit and vegetable stalls, which were fined. He also checked the tandoors in the localities and reviewed the prices of roti and naan and checked the weight.



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