SIALKOT/BUREWALA/MANDI-BAHAUDDIN-The high prices of fruit, meat and daily-use items at the Ramazan bazaars in Mandi Bahauddin, Burewala, Sialkot Daska, Sambrial and Pasrur tehsils kept the people away from buying.

The visitors said that the high prices are unaffordable. In Sialkot district, the district administration established eight bazaars for facilitating the local people by providing them with commodities at subsidised rates. Due to less rush of the people, Ramazan bazaars wear a deserted look in sizzling hot weather.

The people said that they had been left at the mercy of skyrocketing prices of different items due to which they were very much perturbed following more than 100 to 150 percent increase in the prices.

Several perturbed people said that there was no reasonable difference in the rates of fruit, vegetables, meat and other daily-use commodities available at these Ramazan bazaars and in the local markets. They complained that the district administration was busy in making these bazaars successful but it was not paying attention to mounting prices in the markets.

The people added that the fruit, vegetables, meat and chicken have already gone out of the reach of the common people leaving big question mark on the performance of the price control committees.

A female visitor Sakeena Bibi said, "The rising prices show total failure of the local price control committees in Sialkot district." Allah Rakhi said, "The genie of price hike has come out of the bottle now."

A labourer namely Iqbal said, "The visits of the district administration officials and MPAs are bearing no fruit for the perturbed common man. Their visits to the bazaars are only limited to photo sessions."

In Daska, citizen Ghulam Hussain said the officials were only visiting the Ramazan bazaars but not taking any pain to also visit the local open markets." Parveen Bibi said there was no space for the poor in Ramazan bazaars and markets because the fruit, vegetables, meat and other commodities were still out of their reach.

Baba Ghulam Akbar said, "We know only that every year, Ramazan brings an uncontrolled storm of price hike for us. This nasty situation should be an eye opener and point of grave concern for everyone."

The venders are selling mutton at the rate of Rs850 to 950 per kg, beef at Rs550 per kg against the official rate of Rs380 in the local market.

The rates of milk and yogurt have also gone up in the local market as the venders are selling milk at Rs100 per liter and yogurt at Rs110 per kg.

When contacted, the local officials said that they were conducting raids at the retail shops and fined several retailers heavily for selling commodities at inflated rates in Sialkot, Daska, Sambrial and Pasrur tehsils.

Some retailers complained that the action of district administration was only against the small shopkeepers. They said that one has yet taken any action against the influential hoarders and big merchants who were the actual main reason behind the price hike during Ramazan in Sialkot district.

Likewise, the Ramazan bazaars in Mandi Bahauddin district have failed to attract customers because the goods available there are of low quality with a little difference in the rates versus the market.

Meanwhile, Vehari Deputy Commissioner Ali Akbar visited Ramazan bazaars of Burewala and Gaggo Mandi and reviewed the arrangements for the public and checked the quality and quantity of the fruits, vegetable, pulses, sugar, edible oil, ghee, flour and other items.

He said that according to the instructions of the Government of the Punjab, quality food items were being provided at low prices due to which public interest in buying from Ramazan bazaars is growing. He said that sheds had been provided for the consumers in Ramazan bazaars and along with Health Department and Civil Defence, it was providing complete security to the public. He said that administration must improve the quality of items in Ramazan bazaar to provide maximum relief for the public.

Assistant Commissioner Burewala, Rao Tasleem Akhtar, Assistant Director Planning Muhammad Muzaffar Khan, Deputy Director Information Mian Naeem Asim, SNA Sheikh Khurram Saleem, President of Anjuman Tajran M Jameel and others accompanied him.