ISLAMABAD   -   The Peshawar Mor weekly bazaar of Capital Development Authority once a blessing for the poor has become so expensive that customers are shying away due to artificial hike in prices of various products.

The bazaar was set up with the intention to curb inflation in the markets of the capital and thousands of buyers flock to there every week to save money on their shopping.  Naureen Aslam, a regular customer of the market, said that some items in the bazaar which remains open 3 days a week on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays, were more expensive than market for household goods; however, fruits and vegetables were comparatively cheaper.

She observed that the bazaars were established to provide relief to the low- and middle-income people but stallholders were now bent upon minting money by hiking prices of the goods.  The bazaars had lost 50 percent of their customer dues to increasing rates, she added.

On the other hand, Anwar Ali, who runs a curtains’ shop in the bazaar said that he was not happy with the facilities provided by the CDA as electricity was not being provided to the stallholders. He said, “I pay handsome amount per month for my stall but the business is not flourishing because of non-availability of electricity. The stallholders have to bear extra expenses of solar panel and generators which increase their costs forcing them to raise rates.”

If the CDA provides electricity to the shopkeepers, the stallholders could reduce the prices, he added.

He said that when the customers start arriving in the market in the evening, the CDA staffers spring into action coercing the sellers to close down their stalls.

He said that CDA also did not put up shutters on the shops to ensure security, which create an uncertain situation for sellers and they have to engage security guards.

A CDA official said that the bazaars open as the sun rises and remain open till the sunset so there was no need of electricity, adding that one of the reasons that CDA did not provide electricity to the stallholders was that they would turn the place into a late night market.