LAHORE: Most of the Sunday Bazaars in the city this week showed signs of deterioration, apparently on account of relaxed monitoring, possibly due to increase in the number of discount bazaars.
The customers complained that there were not enough officials to inspect the prices and quality of items sold by the hawkers. Some said they had been to the offices in the bazaars to lodge complaints but had met nobody who could handle a complaint. Many vendors took advantage of the situation by selling low grade vegetables and fruits at high grade prices.
Another prominent trend was the low demand for beef and mutton compared the recent weeks and a higher demand for chicken.
“I quarrelled with a vendor who was trying to sell me second grade fruit,” said Farooq Ahmed, a shopper at the WAPDA Town Sunday Bazaar. Ahmed said when he went to the office of the bazaar administration, he found no officer there. “I learnt that some of the officials are in the field and some have gone to monitor the Ramazan Bazaars,” he added. Ausaf Afzal, a shopper at the Green Town bazaar, said he had informed the Sunday Bazaar administration about overcharging by some vendors but had seen no action resulting from his complaint.
The number of officials available to monitor Sunday Bazaars has decreased, as some of the officials previously performing the duties now have to keep an eye on the Ramazan Bazaars and the fair price shops.
Before Ramazan there were just 13 Sunday Bazaars in the city. For the duration of the holy month, however, the city administration has set up eight additional bazaars, bring the number of bazaars it has to monitor to 21. “The number of officials available to monitor the bazaars has not increased. We have the same work force but have to keep an eye on both the Ramazan Sasta Bazaars and the routine Sunday Bazaars,” an official at the Green Town Bazaar said. Even so, he said, the administration was trying its best to control the prices and check the quality of products.
The chicken meat remained in high demand. Kamran Ali, one of the people who had just purchased some explained: “These days, there is a possibility that some unscrupulous people will try to sell dead animals’ meat as beef or mutton. It is best to buy fresh chicken.” He said he been buying mostly mutton for the last two weeks, but had decided to just stop eating mutton for a while.
Another factor may have been the lower prices of chicken. Over the last two weeks, the chicken meat prices have come down from Rs169 per kg to Rs113 per kg.
Meanwhile new potatoes sold for Rs46-50 per kg while stored potatoes went for Rs18-21 per kg. The onion prices hovered at around Rs25-29 per kg; tomatoes were available for Rs58-62’ garlic sold for Rs173-177 per kg and ginger for Rs 78-82 per kg.
Apples sold for Rs28-78 per kg; mangoes for Rs33-68 per kg and bananas for Rs28-58 a dozen.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 23rd, 2010.
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