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Sudden Price hike in Ramadan irks consumers

“Special Ramadan Bazars setup in AJK to supply edibles at subsidized rates”

Altaf Hameed Rao;

MIRPUR (AJK): Right from the beginning of the Holy month of Ramadan from Thursday, profiteers and hoarders have started fleecing the consumers, through the artificial price hike by overcharging the prices of the commodities of daily use, especially edibles, by blatantly denying the rates fixed by the local authorities.
And at the same time, the local authorities, instead of taking stringent measures to overcome the artificially-created dearness on the part of the profiteers and hoarders of the commodities of daily life, asserted that they have decided to establish special Ramadan bazaars in various parts of all AJK districts including the capital city of Muzaffarabad as well as the divisional headquarters of Mirpur and Rawalakot in the state to deliver the edibles to the consumers at subsidized rates.
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, bread, eggs, of their own choice against the rates fixed by the District Price Control Committee. “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. 300 per dozen. Before Ramadan it was available at only Rs. 120 per dozen.
At the same time, AJK authorities asserted that they had established special Ramadan Bazars in various major cities under the spirit to ensure the required supply of edibles to the general consumers at subsidized rates during the Holy month of Ramzan.
“Mirpur district administration decided to launch special Ramzan Bazars in various parts of Mirpur district including one at outer side premises of Mirpur Cricket stadium”, Naib Tehsildar Ch. Muhammad Imran said.
Imran told this Correspondent here Thursday that the Ramzan Bazar would be set up outer side of Mirpur Cricket Stadium where all quality edibles would be available at reasonable rates as compared to the general market.
Vendors at Ramzan bazaars will be bound to display the rate lists of the commodities, determined by the authorities, at a visible place at their sale points from 8.30 in the morning, he said.
When asked what preventive steps are being taken by the administration to net the profiteers and hoarders, the Naib Tehsildar stated that an extensive drive has already been kicked off to overcome the price-hike on the part of the shopkeepers involved in overcharging besides creating artificial scarcity and hoarding. Mobile teams headed by magistrates have already been constituted to conduct surprise checking of the prices and the shopkeepers – both wholesalers and retailers, involved in charging exorbitant rates would be booked.
Besides, general shopkeepers, the owners of the main shopping malls have also been warned 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 duty magistrate warned.
Meanwhile a senior AJK government official told this correspondent here Thursday 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 maintained in all circumstances”, the official declared.
“The government has ensured the availability of edibles including mutton, beef, chicken, sugar, vegetables, fruit, flour, rice, pulses and other items at inexpensive rates at Ramzan bazaars as fixed by the concerned district administrations”, the official underlined.

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