Thursday May 23, 2024

Residents rush to markets for Ramazan shopping

By Afshan S. Khan
March 17, 2024
People buy grocery items at a store. — AFP/File
People buy grocery items at a store. — AFP/File

Islamabad : As the month of Ramazan starts, residents of Rawal­pindi and Islamabad are struggling through overcrowded markets as they rush to stock up on supplies for the month-long fasting period. The last-minute rush to buy groceries and other essentials on Monday, led to chaotic scenes and severe traffic jams in the cities, raising concerns about unnecessary hoarding and price hikes.

Residents have been seen thronging the markets and grocery stores, filling their carts with items ranging from grains, spices, besan, flour, dates and juices traditionally consumed during Ramazan. The surge in demand has also overwhelmed retailers who are struggling and stocking up to meet the huge demand.

Commenting on the situation, Asma Khan, a local resident, expressed her frustration, saying, "The hoarding mentality is getting out of hand. People are buying more than they need, creating shortages and driving up prices. It's unnecessary and unfair to those who can't afford to stockpile supplies."

Another resident, Mujtaba Ali said that the price hikes during Ramazan are unacceptable. It's becoming increasingly difficult for ordinary people to afford basic necessities. The government needs to take action to curb inflation and ensure that everyone can observe Ramazan without financial strain. He urged the CM Punjab Maryam Nawaz to take severe action against the extortionists.

Few days before the beginning of Ramazan affluent people buy Ramazan packages for many people who are underprivileged and grappling the expense with their limited income. People should manage their preparations with moderation and consideration for others.

Sadaf Khwaja a housewife while talking to this scribe said that she was totally baffled to see the overstuffed trolleys with the grocery items that would be whole utilised for the month. Nor the grocery stores would be shut down for the month and there is no COVID pandemic, so what's the emergency? There is no consideration for our underprivileged families. If you ‘have more, donate more.’ ‘It's a month of ‘Donating, not Eating.’ She felt that people go overboard by purchasing more than utilising it within a month. The spirit of generosity and sharing should be first priority in the observance of Ramazan, but here excessive hoarding undermine these values and contribute to hardship for many. Over pricing is yet another hardship public has to face since the Ramazan starts.

Ahmed Ali a customer, said that Authorities should make a Complaint Centre for the public which would work 24/7, that would register a complaint of overpricing in market or grocery store. They should ensure that everyone has access to the basic supplies they need during this sacred month. However, it will ultimately require a collective effort from both the government and the public to address the underlying issues of hoarding and inflation and ensure a peaceful and prosperous Ramazan for all. All over the world, the markets and store offer items on discounted rates so that more and more people are encouraged to fast in the Holy month of Ramazan, but here we are left at the mercy of retailers and there is no check and balance of price hike. In Ramazan, people are compelled to pay more to survive through this month.