lahore
Amidst aggressive price checking though the rates of fruits, vegetables and grocery items are stable in Ramazan bazaars yet the authorities have almost failed to implement government-announced price list at retail level in open market.
The official rate of mutton is fixed at Rs500 per kg but it is sold at Rs650-700 per kg while the control rate of potato is Rs58 but it is available at Rs60-70 per kg. In the same way onion’s official rate is Rs30 but is available at Rs45-50 per kg. The official rate of banana is Rs81, but it is being sold between Rs100 and 120 per dozen. Milk is sold at Rs65-70 per litre and yogurt at Rs75 per kg as against their official rates of Rs60 per litre and Rs65 per kg respectively.
Consumers said that retailers do not pay much attention to random checking exercise and resume overcharging as soon as monitoring teams leave. Moreover, absence of complaint centres has left consumers at the mercy of market players. So far, efforts of the city administration have proved to be futile as rarely a commodity is sold at the control rate, they added.
Though the govt claim is that over 800 people have been arrested for overcharging and Rs3.4 million fine has been recovered, as 89 price magistrates are actively controlling prices but this price checking mechanism is successful in Ramazan bazaars while the same is absolutely fail in open market.
Though the rates of vegetables and fruits are marginally less, but the rates of green items are exceptionally high both in Sasta Bazaars and in the open markets .
Traditionally the prices of fruits and vegetable at the advent of Ramazan go spiralling high by 80-100 per cent. Almost all veggies rates, including potato, tomato, onion, garlic, ginger, cucumber, pease, lady finger, and bringle, have shot up in local markets . Like past, this year also the price control system of provincial government appears to have failed in controlling the prices during Ramazan .
The price lists issued by the local administration seems a showpiece in the shops. The retailers, particularly of fruits and vegetables, continued to fleece the consumers despite tall claims of the authorities concerned to control price hike.
If make a comparison with pre-Ramazan prices, the rate of potato has increased by Rs10-20 per kg and is being sold at Rs55 per kg in Sasta Bazaars and Rs60-70 per kg in open market. Onion prices have gone up also by Rs5-8 per kg to Rs33 in Sasta Bazaars which was also substandard.
Tomato rate has jumped the most by over 100 per cent, as its price has gained by Rs20-30 per kg to Rs60 at Sasta Bazaars and at least Rs80 in open market, though the same product is available before Ramazan maximum for Rs25 per kg. Bitter gourd, luffa and lady finger rates have witnessed a raise of also Rs10 to Rs 15 a kg after the start of Ramazan as they went up to Rs40, Rs50 and Rs60 a kg, respectively.
Chicken prices also started to go up from almost one month ago, as this was sold at Rs200 to Rs230 per kilogram. The prices of red meat are already very high and the people who depend on white meat have now left with no option but to cook vegetables.
 “Price increase before the Ramazan has become a hallmark in our society,” said a customer Mohsin. He said prices were increasing since the last couple weeks and no govt agency or authority was trying to control them.