The Gujranwala commissioner paid a surprising visit to Ramazan Bazaar Hafizabad and admonished the officials concerned for not ensuring the sale of essential commodities at the fixed rates.

He also ordered the arrest of a vendor who had fleeced a consumer and imposed fine of Rs 5,000 to vegetables seller for overcharging a buyer. He warned that the exploitation of fasting Muslims would not be tolerated and they be provided subsidised essential commodities in abundance in the Ramazan bazaars.

Shumail Ahmad Khawaja said that Ramazan bazaars were aimed at providing adequate relief for the people. He directed the officials to ensure timely action against the vendors who sell vegetables and others edibles above the fixed rates. He also directed that the consumers be supplied sugar and wheat flour without the production of CNIC. He also enquired from the customers about the availability of certain items and directed the officers to take stern action against the violators on the complaints of the consumers.

He warned that the negligent and irresponsible personnel would be dealt with sternly.

According to a survey conducted by this scribe, pulses, sugar, wheat flour, rice and some vegetables available at the Ramazan bazaar at are cheaper than the market prices. Karnal rice is the cheapest commodity which is being sold at Rs60 per kg as against Rs80 to 90 in the market. However, fruit and vegetables are being sold either above or at the same rate as they are available in the market. Eggs, poultry, beef and mutton are also being sold below the market rates but a customer is being sold only three eggs at a time. It is pertinent to mention here that the fruit and vegetables rates have been increased by the wholesalers before the start of Ramazan and despite strenuous efforts by the authorities, prices of most of the fruit and vegetables could not be brought down. It seems that the wholesalers are more powerful than the administration.

Likewise, Punjab Minister for Labour and Human Resources Raja Ashfaq Sarwar said that traders involved in overcharging, hoarding and adulteration in food items be dealt with sternly.

Talking to the media on his visit to a Ramazan bazaar established at Pir Bahar Saha, he directed to continue campaign against outlaws so that relief could be given to people.

“It is responsibility of the price control magistrates to provide quality essential items to the people not only in Ramazan bazaars but also at all the commercial markets in the district,” he said. He added that the people should round the year get quality commodities of daily use as notified by the price control committee in the district.

The government was acting upon the people’s welfare agenda by giving relief package of billions of rupees for Ramazan, he said. He said, “It is responsibility of traders’ community to follow the footsteps of Hazrat Osman Ghani and provide relief for the masses so that they could observe fasting with comfort and ease.” Citing an example, he said that traders in the west provided maximum relief to the people as Christmas approaches. He said 131 Ramazan bazaars had been established across the province. He appreciated efforts of the civil administration Sheikhupura for establishing 12 Ramazan bazaars in an organised. He directed to leave no stone unturned in protecting rights of people and providing quality edibles to them on cheaper rates as compared to the open market.