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Profiteers active in Ramazan: Shopkeepers continue overcharging customers

PESHAWAR: Ignoring price-lists and directives of the district administration, shopkeepers continued selling fruit, vegetables and other commodities at higher prices in almost every bazaar in the provincial metropolis.

Customers of different age groups complained that shopkeepers were looting them despite the fact that the district administration was taking actions against profiteers during the holy month of Ramazan.

Controlling prices of commodities, they said, had always remained a challenge for the government and it seems that the authorities have failed to control the prices despite taking different measures.

“It seems the government has left the citizens at the mercy of shopkeepers,” said one Haji Shireen, adding, what else the government could do in such a situation. He said he had seen the government officials taking action against profiteering.

Some of the customers pointed out that the price of guava is normally Rs180 per kilogram but it is being sold at Rs250. They said the price of the best quality apple is Rs150 but it is getting sold at Rs250. They noted that banana, watermelon and other fruits were also being sold at double the price than that mentioned in the government pricelists.

“We don’t understand as to how a Muslim can cheat and get the extra amount in this holy month but all this is happening now in broad daylight,” Haji Shireen said. He called for strict action against traders overcharging customers.

Vegetables like potatoes, tomatoes, onions, and lady fingers are also being sold at a higher rate in violation of the government-fixed prices. The price of potatoes is Rs40 per kilogram but it is sold for Rs50 to Rs60, tomatoes with fixed price of Rs30 per kilo are being sold at Rs40 while lemons are sold at Rs400 instead of the government-fixed price of Rs280 per kilo. Huge difference was reported in the prices of ginger, garlic, and green chilies. The customers, however, said the price of poultry per kilo, ie 276, has remained the same because it had recently been increased.

Sheikh Kaka, who preferred to buy ghee and sugar instead of fruits, said he could not afford fruit like other poor people.“We don’t need fruit but we request the government to take action against those who sell Atta, ghee, sugar and other basic items at high rates,” he said, adding, the government should enforce its decision. He said the government needs to take stricter action instead of briefly arresting a shopkeeper. The customers also accused butchers of overcharging. The government has fixed the price of meat per kilo at Rs450 but customers are mostly charged more than Rs500. Many remarked that people overcharging customers would never get prosperous even if they collect more and more money through exploitation.