Profiteers start fleecing consumers right before advent of holy Ramadan:

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Altaf Hamid Rao,

MIRPUR (AJK): Right before the scheduled advent of the Holy month of Ramadan from Saturday – April 25, profiteers have started fleecing the consumers, through the artificial price hike by overcharging the prices of the commodities of daily use, especially edibles, by totally denying the rates fixed by the local authorities.

The shopkeepers, involved in overcharging the rates of the edibles, were charging the excessive cost of the items – including meat, beef, chicken vegetables, fruit, soft drinks, milk, Yogurt, mutton, beef, chicken, bread, eggs, of their own choice as against the rates fixed by the District Price Control Committee.

This year, common man was already extremely upset following the worst economic conditions caused by the pandemic of COVID-19 in Azad Jammu Kashmir besides rest of the country for past over one month with bleak hope of combating of the virus to discourage its spread as also feared by the global agencies like World Health Organisation.

“The prices of almost all edible items have gone out of reach of the common man”, Zubair ul Hassan Jiraal, a low-paid government official said. “We can’t think about taking meat even in a single meal”, said Zubair, who was much worried about passing the Holy month of Ramadan in a comfortable manner.

He said that he had bought only six pieces of bananas at the rate of Rs. 200 per dozen. Before Ramadan it was available at only Rs. 120 per dozen.

At the same time, AJK authorities will not be in a position to establish special Ramadan Bazars this year in view of the restrictions imposed to ban gathering under the medical advisory to combat spread of corona virus.

Meanwhile besides the general shopkeepers, the owners of the main shopping malls have also been warned by the administration to maintain the prices of the items of daily use – fixed by the administration – during and even after the Holy month of Ramadan. “The violators would be taken to task under the law”, the authorities have warned.

Meanwhile a senior AJK government official told this correspondent here Friday that all the district administrations in AJK have taken stringent measures to discourage profiteering, hoarding and artificial scarcity of edible items during and after the Holy month of Ramzan. He asserted that those involved in such unlawful exercise will be booked. “The sanctity of this Holy month will be ensured and maintained in all circumstances”, the official declared.

“The government has also advised the whole sealers and retailers of the edibles to ensure the availability of edibles including mutton, beef, chicken, sugar, vegetables, fruit, flour, rice, pulses and other items at inexpensive rates fixed by the concerned district administrations, the official underlined