Rawalpindi - The prices of all the edibles, including fruits and vegetables, have been jacked up by the shopkeepers and vendors up to 100 percent in the city on the eve of Ramazan.

The district administration, including brigade of special price magistrates (SPMs) and heads of price control committees, seems in slumber as no action is being taken against the profiteers and hoarders who have launched looting spree. The citizens appealed to Chief Minister Punjab Mian Shahbaz Sharif to pay a surprise visit to local markets to see with his own eyes how the vendors and shopkeepers are fleecing the helpless public with both hands.

According to a survey conducted by The Nation in different areas of the city, a sharp increase of Rs 20 to 150 was registered in prices of all edibles such as banana, apple, mangoes, peach, melons, watermelons, pulses, spinach, pakoras, samosas, and other kitchen items. It was also noticed that a bundle of spinach that was being sold at Rs 15 per head is now available at Rs 35 to Rs 40; mangoes at Rs 130 to Rs 140 instead of Rs 90 to Rs 100; peach is being sold at Rs 160 to Rs 200 against old prices Rs 120 per kg; banana at Rs 250 against its Rs 150 per dozen; and watermelon at Rs 40 instead of its old price Rs 20 to Rs 25 per kg. Similarly, the prices of pulses and all the vegetables have also been increased from Rs 20 to Rs 100.

Amina Bibi, a housewife who was arguing with a vendor over price of apple at Chungi # 22, told The Nation that the looters and thieves (vendors) have surged the prices of fruit by 100 percent without any notification by the government. She said that she visited the bazaar to buy some fruits for her family but now she has changed her mind due to new prices.

“I do not know what will we do and how we will break our fasts in this Ramazan as prices of all the kitchen items have been jacked up by 100 per cent,” said a labourer Irshad Khan at Raja Bazaar. He said that the vendors and shopkeepers have started fleecing the customers with advent of Ramazan while no authority was seen on ground to hold their hands.

Many other shoppers complained that the shopkeepers and vendors were busy selling all the daily use items at very high prices whereas the district government was paying no heed to them. They demanded of CM Shahbaz Sharif to take notice of this looting spree and send the looters to jail.

No official of district government or price control committees was available for comments on the looting spree going unchecked in the city.