SIALKOT/HAFIZABAD

The prices of daily use goods especially of kitchen items have witnessed exorbitant increase in Sialkot district irking the people on the occasion of mega festival of the Muslims - Eidul Azha.

According to a survey conducted by this scribe, the prices of kitchen and daily use items are being raised rapidly, while weekly bazaars have also failed to provide relief for the common men. Price hike was witnessed in the daily and kitchen use items including, potatoes, tomatoes, spices, onion, garlic, fruits, ghee, edible oil, and many other items.

It was noted that one or two months ago the prices of kitchen items were affordable to some extent, but on approaching of Eid, the prices rose rapidly. Salma, a housewife from Sialkot Cantt, said, “Being Muslims, we should reduce prices, especially of daily use and kitchen items on religious festivals including Eids but in Pakistan, the prices are increased deliberately on such occasions.”

It was also observed that at weekly bazaars of Sialkot, Daska, Sambrial, Uggoki, Pasrur, Chawinda, Badiana and surrounding areas, prices of daily use and kitchen items have been increased while the district administration has failed to maintain these prices.

A vegetable dealer, Muhammad Akram from Daska, said that on Eid prices of all daily use items, vegetables and fruit are increased because consumption of these things doubles due to the festivals. He added that potatoes were being sold at Rs55 to Rs65 per kg, while tomato were Rs90 to Rs120 per kg, eggs Rs110 per dozen while this increase is artificial, because sufficient quantity is available, but hoarders deliberately created shortage of these products.

In this regard, Sakeena, a consumer from Sambrial, said that prices of items were increased by the shopkeepers and sellers more than a week before the arrival of Eidul Azha, while these prices will further increase. She demanded that the government should reduce the prices and give relief to the poor people of the country particularly on the Eid days.

When contacted, Sialkot DO (Coordination) Malik Abid Hussain Awan said that the officials concerned had already been directed to take some effective steps to bring down prices for giving maximum financial relief to the people.

In Hafizabad, transporters continued to fleece the commuters and no action has so far been taken by the administration here despite several requests and protests.

According to commuters, the transporters were already charging exorbitant fares between Hafizabad and Lahore, Sheikhupura, Gujranwala, Faisalabad, Sargodha, Silalkot etc. but due to recent increase in the petrol and diesel prices, they had further increased the fares. Overloading in the vans and buses also continues unabated under the patronage of stand managers, owners and traffic police.

According to transporters, the private stand managers collect huge amount as ‘Adda fee’ and some corrupt mafia also extort money owing to which they were constrained to increase the fares. Local commuters have called upon the district transport authority to stop “extortion” and ensure charging of fares of different routes according to the fare notification issued by Regional/District Transport Authority.