Price control committees have failed to implement their authority as every market has its own rates in the capital of Azad Jammu and Kashmir. In addition, the prices of essential commodities have been constantly shooting up in Ramazan.
Despite subsidies announced by the federal government on various commodities, the people in AJK are witnessing a sharp rise in the prices of fruits, pulses, chicken and vegetables.
Different essential commodities have seen a rise of Rs4 to Rs20 per kg. “Sugar is now being sold at Rs62 per kg which was Rs56 per kg before Ramazan. Potato prices have been increased from Rs25 to Rs30 per kg. The rate of five kilograms of cooking oil was Rs1,500 which has elevated to Rs1,650. The chicken rate before Ramazan was Rs164 which is now Rs190 per kg. The prices of pulses have also been increased by Rs10,” said consumer Muzaffar Hussain.
When asked about the increased prices in contrast to the rates fixed by the price control committee, shopkeepers said they are trying their best to provide goods to consumers at reasonable prices. They accused the wholesale dealers for the price hike during Ramazan.
Price Control Committee Head Assistant Deputy Commissioner Nadim Janjua said the sharp increase in wholesale market affects the prices of retailers. “There is no fruit and vegetable wholesale market in Muzaffarabad. We fix the prices while keeping the rates of Mansehra and Rawalpindi in view,” he added.
Former minister Masood Khalid said the administration and shopkeepers work jointly and put the stock in hoarding so as to earn more money as prices increase with demand. “The government has turned a blind eye towards the issue and is letting the shopkeepers earn unjustified profits. The government seems least interested in public issues during Ramazan, which is very unfortunate,” he added.
Customers were of the view that the administration should take action against hoarders as they are the main culprits. They demanded wholesale markets in Muzaffarabad, Mirpur and Rawalakot to ensure price control especially during Ramazan when demand increases.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 25th, 2015.
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