The Sasta Bazaar set up in Gilgit city has failed to attract potential clientele.
“Even though people visit the bazaar regularly, they return disappointed as it has little variety of food items to offer,” said Ghulam Nabi, a local who lives adjacent to the bazaar. “There is nothing worth buying here,” he said.
The bazaar was set up in the middle of the city just before the start of Ramazan as a means to provide daily use food items such as fresh vegetables, fruit, oil and flour at subsidised rates. Yet the setup has been unable to deliver as per its premise.
Locals said that essential commodities such as pulses, sugar, rice, chicken, beef, mutton, vegetables and fruit have registered staggering increase, making purchase difficult for the common man. They also believe that certain elements are trying to thwart the business of the bazaar, as it goes against their vested interest.
Meanwhile, some government circles believe that certain shopkeepers are trying to foil the initiative as it could rob them of quick money-making opportunities during the holy month. “We know certain shopkeepers are bent upon upsetting this initiative for their personal gains,” Assistant Commissioner Gilgit Usman Ahmed told The Express Tribune. “But we will ensure things get better in the coming days,” he said, adding that on the basis of last year’s success, the government decided to launch the bazaar this year too.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 25th, 2012.