LAHORE - The Ramazan Special Bazaars, which were established to provide quality food items to the masses at cheaper rates, seem to have failed to ensure availability of most of the items, as tomatoes, potatoes, apricot, ladyfinger, bitter gourd, spinach, cabbage, cauliflower and cucumber were not seen in the whole bazaar. Hence most of the stalls were empty since the start of business in the morning and the management was not taking any action to ensure the availability of all food items.

Besides, prices of many commodities including onions, potatoes and tomatoes were not the same at Ramazan Bazaars in the provincial capital.

A visit to the selected bazaars revealed that the prices of several fruits and vegetables in these special makeshift markets had been reduced though the quality was questionable, as several fruits and vegetables stalls were decorated with rotten goods.

The shoppers said that they could not find tomatoes and potatoes at most of Special Bazaars and they had to buy it from other markets at higher rates. The buyers observed that the shopkeepers were minting money by raising prices. They said that the vendors know that people have no choice but to shop as these are basic kitchen items, therefore they are selling them at exorbitant prices. Visitors were of the view that main focus of the government was on decorating these bazaars and it seems that all the subsidy money has been spent on decoration.

Apparently, the government has made great efforts to improve the situation of the makeshift bazaars in Lahore.

Customers at Wahdat Colony Ramazan Bazaar complained that onions were being sold at Rs38 per kilogramme while the same commodity is available for Rs35 from the Karishn Nagar Ramadan Bazaar.

Vendors said that prices fluctuated in various bazaars and towns because of different transportation charges.

Mangoes were sold at Rs90 per kg while prices of bananas, apples and grapes were Rs 60, Rs120 and Rs300 per kg respectively. Potatoes, onions, lady-fingers and pumpkins were sold at Rs25, Rs38, Rs60 and Rs65 per kg respectively. Despite complaints about a few things, people coming to Ramadan Bazaars appreciated the security arrangements and traffic plans.

Tomato was sold at Rs120 per kg in the open market against the price of Rs88 per kg while in Ramazan bazaars it also missing due to price issue. In the official list, the price of potato was fixed at Rs25 to 30 per kg while in open market it was Rs45. Onion’s official price was only Rs38 but it was sold at Rs42 to Rs45 per kg in the open market while in Ramazan bazaars, it was not available due to the price distortion. Spinach was sold at Rs45 per kg in the open market against the rates of Rs24 per kg and missing in special Ramazan bazaars. Same was the situation with other vegetables, as well.

In fruit, lower quality fruit was sold in Ramazan bazaars while in the open market vendors sold different fruits ranging from Rs20 to 100 per kilogram at prices higher than the official rates.