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May 18, 2018

Ramazan begins with worst overcharging


May 18, 2018

LAHORE: The Punjab government has least bothered about the basic public issue of enforcement of price list and availability of edibles at official rates in the last two weeks of its tenure while all focus remained on the inauguration of mega projects for political mileage in the forthcoming general election.

The worst-ever inflation and overcharging started across the city with the start of the holy month of Ramazan while there is no check on the sellers starting from wholesale markets called Arhtis to roadside vendors and shopkeepers in the residential area markets. The situation of special Ramazan Bazaars which established with the objective to provide relief to the public in holy month was not different than the open markets despite the fact that a large number of different departments staff was deputed in these makeshift markets.

Luckily, the city has 92 price control magistrates – but unluckily - it seems that none of them is performing duty in the city. Across the city, huge overcharging started a day before since the official announcement of start of Ramazan was made by the government. The district management was expecting first Ramazan on Friday (today); so it was preparing in go-slow mode. However, announcement of Ramazan before their expectations has exposed the unpreparedness of the district government for holding the Ramazan Bazaars. In almost all Ramazan Bazaars, some stalls were still vacant besides non-availability of A-grade items while B-grade items were sold at A-grade of special grade items rates. Banana and lemon was the two items which were not available to any of the bazaars, even the agricultural marketing department stalls which asked double the supply of both after these items were sold out in the first two hours of the sales. Furthermore, subsidised flour was also missing in the special Ramazan Bazaars while the administration of the different bazaars claimed that trucks carrying flour arrived in the morning and all stock was sold by noon. So there was no supply of flour for afternoon and evening.

A great rush of the buyers was witnessed almost in every makeshift Ramazan Bazaar despite non-availability of majority of perishable items there. People are coming for shopping but returning with incomplete shopping and latter compelled to buy missing items from open markets at exorbitant rates. Price Control Committee Chairman, Mian Usman, talking to The News admitted overcharging and price-hike in the city besides unpreparedness of the district government well before the holy month. Additionally, he accepted that flour was also missing in the Ramazan Bazaars while morning supply was already sold while he also highlighted the complaints of the non-availability of sugar in some of the bazaars.

Admitting the poor performance of price control magistrates, Mian Usman said that 92 price magistrates were appointed in Lahore but the issue of overcharging and non-availability of the perishable was unresolved. Furthermore, he said the district government and price control committee kept on monitoring the situation. Additionally, stern action was taken, including imposition of fines and registration of FIRs against the price violators. He hoped that the situation would be controlled in coming few days.

The price of different local variety of apples was fixed at Rs80 to 162 per kg, sold at Rs100 to 250 per kg while Chinese apples rates were fixed at Rs316 to 322 per kg sold at Rs350 to 400 per kg.

Banana special variety price was fixed at Rs158 to 164 per dozen, sold at Rs200 to 220 per dozen, A-quality fixed at Rs105 to 111 per dozen, sold at Rs150 to 160 per dozen, B-quality was fixed at Rs55 to 58 per dozen, sold at Rs100 to 120 per dozen. Dates rates were fixed at Rs146 to 179 per kg, sold at Rs250 to 600 per kg of different varieties. Melon was fixed at Rs35 to 38 per kg, sold at Rs40 to 60 per kg while watermelon was sold at Rs20 to 30 per kg against the rates of Rs15 to 16 per kg. Phalsa price was fixed at Rs146 to 152 per kg, sold at Rs200 per kg. Plump price was fixed at Rs312 to 318 per kg, sold at Rs400 per kg. Apricot white was fixed at Rs146 to 152 per kg, lower quality was sold at Rs180 to 200 per kg, and Apricot yellow was fixed at Rs104 to 110 per kg, sold at Rs160 to 180 per kg.

Peach special was fixed at Rs130 to 136 per kg, sold at Rs180 to 200 per kg, while B-quality was fixed at Rs70 to 74 per kg, sold at Rs120 to 140 per kg. Different variety of mangoes was fixed at Rs100 to 152 per kg, sold at Rs150 to 200 per kg. Lemon local was fixed at Rs166 to 172 per kg, in open markets sold at Rs350 to 400 per kg.

Tomato was fixed at Rs16 to 17 per kg, sold at Rs20 to 30 per kg. Potato was fixed at Rs16 to 23 per kg, sold at Rs25 to 30 per kg. Onion rates were fixed at Rs22 to 24 per kg, sold at Rs30 per kg.

Ginger was sold at Rs200 per kg, garlic at Rs140 to 160 per kg and green chili at Rs100 per kg against the rate of Rs58 per kg.

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