MIRPUR (AJK) - With the advent of the Holy month of Ramazan, profiteers and hoarders, across Azad Jammu & Kashmir, have started fleecing the consumers through self-created hike in the prices of daily-use commodities including edibles.

On the other hand, the AJK authorities, instead of taking stringent measures to overcome the artificial dearness, asserted that they had decided to establish special Ramazan bazaars in various parts of all AJK districts including the capital city Muzaffarabad as well as the divisional headquarters of Mirpur and Rawalakot.

The shopkeepers were charging excessive rates of the items - including vegetables, fruit, soft drinks, milk, Yogurt, mutton, beef, chicken, bread, eggs and dates of their own choice against the rates fixed by the District Price Control Committee.

“The District Price Control Committees in all AJK districts have failed to control the prices of the commodities of daily use”, said Attique Amin Khan, a banker, the head of a lower-middle class family comprising six.

“The prices of almost all edible items have gone out of reach of the common man”, said Bashir Kashmiri, a constable in local IT department. “We can’t think about taking meat even in a single meal”, said Kashmiri who was much worried about passing the holy month of Ramazan in a comfortable manner.

At the same time, the AJK authorities asserted that they had principally decided to establish special Ramazan bazaars to ensure the required supply of edibles to the general consumers at subsidized rates during the holy month of Ramazan.

Meanwhile, a senior AJK government official, who declined to be named, told this scribe that all the district administrations in AJK had taken stringent measures to discourage profiteering, hoarding and artificial scarcity of edible items during and after the holy month of Ramazan. He asserted that those involved in the unlawful exercise would be booked. “The sanctity of this holy month will be maintained in all circumstances”, the official declared. “The government has ensured the availability of edibles including mutton, beef, chicken, sugar,  vegetables, fruit, flour, rice, pulses and other items at inexpensive rates at Ramazan bazaars as fixed by the concerned district administrations”, according to the official.

“Mirpur district administration   says it has yet launched special Ramzan Bazars in various parts of the Mirpur district including at outer side premises of Mirpur Cricket stadium”, said Mirpur Deputy Commissioner, Masoodur Rehman.

Rehman told The Nation today that in Mirpur city the Ramazan Bazaar has yet been inaugurated at outer side of Mirpur Cricket Stadium where all quality edibles would be available at inexpensive rates as compared to the general market.

Vendors at Ramazan bazaars will be bound to display rate lists, determined by the authorities, at a visible place from 8:30 in the morning, he said.