The prices of vegetables, fruits and other kitchen items increased sharply in open market as well as at Sunday Bazaars where number of customers also remained thin due to lack of variety of fresh veggies. Out of the 27 vegetables enlisted by the market committee, prices of 18 vegetables increased, five decreased and prices of four vegetables remained unchanged. Prices of onion, tomato, garlic, ginger, potatoes and lemon increased while prices of spinach, cucumber and brinjal decreased.

The prices of all kitchen items including pulses, vegetables and fruits touched the sky and consumers blamed the government for not taking action against extortionists.

The new price tomato increased to Rs100-120 per kg, onion Rs60-80 per kg, potato Rs40-50 per, garlic Rs180-200 per kg, Ginger Rs200-300 per kg, spinach Rs30 per kg, cabbage Rs60 per kg, cauliflower Rs80 per kg bitergourd Rs100 per kg, tinday Rs70 per kg, peas Rs200 per kg and capsicum Rs80 per kg.

Retailers claim that they are getting the supplies at much higher rates, so, they have no choice but to raise the prices. However, there have been reports of them making money in connivance with those who’re tasked with keeping a check. Retailers also claim that supplies have dried up, though there have been no reports of significant shortage of commodities in the market.

In order to provide some sort of relief to people, the Punjab provincial government’s district administration set up Sunday Bazaars but these bazaars failed providing any reprieve from the sky-high inflation as commodities were overpriced.

Even though there were complaints of the government not doing much to keep the soaring prices in check, but in Sunday bazaars the market committees have somehow managed to keep the rates of several food items in these special bazaars under control, said a visitor of Islampura bazar.

Officials were of the view that the government was also monitoring Badami Bagh wholesale market where rates of vegetables and fruits are determined daily through auction. In addition to consumers, shopkeepers also complain of rising prices. What we have is a vicious cycle of the burden of taxation being transferred to the public in a surge in food prices, visitors of Sunday bazaars commented. It is because of the absence of a proper mechanism or a plan to regulate prices of essential food items. The government should formulate a policy at the national level to keep a balance between the supply and demand of food. Raids and arrests of shopkeepers for a few hours will not keep the prices under control, the shoppers observed.