Eatable prices skyrocket, FCSCA enforcement squads in ‘slumber’

Consumers complain non-implementation of rate lists
Eatable prices skyrocket, FCSCA enforcement squads in ‘slumber’
Representational Pic

Srinagar, Oct 20: With the approaching winter, the market prices of eatables and other essentials in Kashmir have skyrocketed in absence of regulation by the concerned government agencies.

The prices have skyrocketed as the enforcement squads of Food Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs (FCSCA) are missing from the markets.

The consumers also accused the FCSCA department of issuing rate lists which remain confined only to official papers.

The department has received severe criticism from all walks of life over its failure to regulate prices of all eatables including fruits, vegetables, chicken and other products.

“The shopkeepers have given an arbitrary hike to all the eatables including vegetables and fruits while the FCSCA department has failed to act on ground and regulate the rates of eatables,” a Baramulla resident, Tariq Ahmad said.

The complaints of overpricing by retailers are being received from all districts of Kashmir amidst the failure of the authorities to regulate the rate list issued to the retailers.

Amid soaring prices of the essentials, the FCSCA department has failed to provide a respite to the general public.

“It seems that the retailers and the wholesalers have got the department’s patronage to sell the products at exorbitant rates. There is no monitoring on the ground,” said Imtiyaz Ahmad, a resident of Khanyar, Srinagar.

A top official said that the lack of coordination between the government departments had put the consumers at the receiving end and that they were being fleeced by the shopkeepers.

“The regulation and monitoring of government rates can be achieved only with the joint efforts of FCSCA, Legal Metrology Department (LMD), and Food Safety Department besides Police and concerned municipal authorities,” the official said.

He said that besides tightening the noose around the retailers, the government needs to regulate and fix the price of chicken, meat, fruits and vegetables for the wholesalers.

“This will ultimately provide a respite to the consumers. Otherwise, the retailers play the victim saying that they purchase eatables at high rates from the wholesalers,” he said.

The consumers complained that the FCSCA department had not issued a fresh rate list of the essentials which had given a free hand to the shopkeepers to fix the rates of eatables as per their own will.

“No shopkeeper has the fresh rate list available in his shop and hikes every item’s price arbitrary,” the consumers said.

The FCSCA department has also failed to press its enforcement squads on the ground to check the market prices and take action against the erring shopkeepers.

Director FCSCA department Abdul Salam Mir told Greater Kashmir that a fresh rate list had been issued 10 days ago and its proper implementation would be ensured in the markets by the department’s enforcement squads.

“Any shopkeeper who doesn’t have the fresh rate list will be sealed and action will be taken for illegal hiking prices of the eatables,” he said.

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