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Saturday May 25, 2024

Inflation forces many families to stay home on Eid

By Khalid Iqbal
April 13, 2024
A man walks past an empty bus station in Islamabad. — AFP/File
A man walks past an empty bus station in Islamabad. — AFP/File

Islamabad:Living cost has forced majority of families to stay homes rather to go to their native towns to celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr this year. The inflation-stricken families also avoid visiting to different recreational spots on Eid days due to high transport charges and expensive food items in public parks here in Rawalpindi and Islamabad. The ever-increasing POL prices followed by unbearable inflation ration has broken the back of a common man which introduced a hard life for public, people belonged to different walks of life told ‘The News’ here on Friday.

No doubt, the whole air was filled with joy, anticipation but runaway inflation this year has made it difficult for many people in Rawalpindi and Islamabad to travel to their native towns to celebrate the Eid festival in the warmth of family bonds. In the past, Islamabad would typically wear a deserted look on Eids as most residents, hailing from various parts of the country, would leave for homes to celebrate the occasion.

But things have changed over the past couple of years, particularly this one, when inflation hit a record high of over 40 percent making the travel costly and "burdensome" for numerous families.

The taxicabs and rickshaws were charging Rs500 for a little distance of 2 to 3 kilometers in excuse of high ratio of POL prices in the country. The private transporters were also charging Rs60 to Rs70 stop-to-stop on special occasion.

Majority of families complained of high fares that powerful transporters were demanding skyrocketing fares therefore we returned back to homes rather to go to our native towns to celebrate Eid. The District Regional Transporter Authority (DRTA) Secretary Rashid Ali told ‘The News’ that we imposed fines and registered several FIRs against transporters they were fleecing public. The transporters were fleecing public due to fresh increase of POL prices, he claimed.

On the other hand, profiteers and hoarders were looting public both hands on Eid holidays and selling all eatable items on exorbitant prices. The sweet sellers as per routine were selling all kinds of sweets in skyrocketing prices and they were selling one kilogram ‘Mix Sweet’ at Rs1,500.

The impact of inflation and the rising living costs made it difficult to manage the expenses and decided to stay home to celebrate Eid here in Rawalpindi rather in Okara his native town, Sheraz Ahmed working in a hotel said. He said that traveling costs and other expenses broken the back of a common man but our government seeing the whole drama with closed eyes.

Nida Manzoor a housewife said that we were continuously killing our wishes but bosses were continuously buying new cars and other luxurious vehicles. This difference of life style will create an unrest situation among public because a common man was continuously becoming poorer and poorer while government officers and other elected representatives continuously becoming richer and richer with IMF loan, she strongly protested.

“I am working in a call centre and have made an excuse to my family that I could not get a leave but in reality, I am skipping a trip back home due to financial issues,” Majid Hussain a poor man said. We are not able even to visit in a recreational spot here in Rawalpindi and Islamabad because of high living costs, so we are stayed at home, he said.