Wah cantt - Almost hundred per cent increase in the prices of fruits in Ramazan mocks local administration’s claims of controlling profiteering, as shopkeepers continued to charge masses with exorbitant rates in the twin cities of Taxila and Wah Cantt.

It has been observed that Punjab government’s claim of regulating prices of essential commodities seems farcical as a random survey of different markets revealed that the prices of food items, especially fruits, have shot up over the last few days. The local administration, including brigade of special price magistrates (SPMs) and heads of price control committees, seem in slumber as no action is being taken against the profiteers and hoarders who have launched the looting spree.

The official price lists endorsed the fact that there is a much difference between prices before and during Ramazan and it seems that food items prices, especially of fruits, become sky-rocketing and local administration as well price control committees are doing nothing but endorsing new high prices rate lists instead to control the artificial price hike.

A market survey on Sunday, the third day of holy month of Ramazan, revealed that in different areas of the city a sharp increase of Rs20 to Rs 150 was registered in prices of all edibles such as banana, apple, mango, peach, melon, watermelon, pulses, spinach, pakoras, samosas, and other kitchen items. It was also noticed that a bundle of spinach that was being sold at Rs15 per head is now available at Rs 35 to Rs 40, mangoes at Rs 130 to Rs 140 per kg instead of Rs 90 to Rs 100, peach is being sold at Rs 160 to Rs 200 per kg against old prices of Rs 120 per kg, banana at Rs 250 against Rs 150 per dozen, and watermelon at Rs 40 per kg instead of its old price of Rs 20 to Rs 25 per kg.

Shahgfta Perveen, a housewife, while purchasing at Museum Road, said vendors and shopkeepers have surged the prices of fruits by 100 per cent.

She said that she visited the market to buy some fruits for her family but now she has changed her mind due to high 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 shopper Ahsan Tahir at Railway Road. 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. Shoppers complained that it has become a routine that with the start of Ramazan, the shopkeepers increase the prices of fruits and vegetables, which is unnecessary and against the spirit of Islam.

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. The authorities claimed that a robust regime has been put in place to control prices but the citizens said the claim was nothing but a ploy.

No official of local government or price control committees was available for comments on the looting spree going unchecked in the city. The masses appealed to Chief Minister Punjab Mian Shahbaz Sharif to pay a surprise visit to local markets to see with his own eyes how vendors and shopkeepers are fleecing helpless public with both hands.