Kashmir markets abuzz with activity ahead of Eid

Rush in markets across Kashmir is picking up ahead of Eid festivities. Shoppers in large numbers were seen making purchases on Sunday even as they complained about overpricing of food items.

The weekly flea market popularly known as ‘Sunday Market’ between TRC junction to Hari Singh High Street on Residency Road here wore a festive look with ready-made garments and household goods being in demand.

“I prefer the Sunday market to purchase clothes and other such items for my kids and other family members as it is quite affordable here. Otherwise, if you go to some regular market prices are so high that a middle class person like me, won’t be able to buy anything there,” said a shopper. 

However, he said, it is the skyrocketing prices of essentials like mutton, vegetables etc which have made a common man hapless.

“A person like me is burdened with no end to overpricing of essentials especially mutton and chicken,” he said.

People across the city are complaining that mutton was being sold at Rs 500 to Rs 550 per kilogram which is much more than the notified government rates. Similarly, despite having notified prices of chicken at Rs 150 per kg, Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs (FCSCA) Department has failed to keep a check on its overpricing.

At most city markets on Sunday, chicken was being sold at Rs 160 – Rs 170 per kilogram while as prices of vegetables is also Rs 10- Rs 20 more than the notified government rates.

Despite being aware about the problem of the pricing, FCSA Department is taking it easy. While admitting that the mutton is being sold at Rs 500 a kg, Director FCSCA, Kashmir, Mohammad Qasimn Wani says prices will be fixed after Eid.

However, the high rates of the essentials has not stopped a good number of people from their shopping spree of mutton and bakery products, the most popular food items on Eid in Kashmir.

From bakers selling cakes and cookies in makeshift tents outside their outlets in Downtown Srinagar to high-end bakery shops in uptown areas, the demand for bakery like always is quite high this Eid. Shariq Bhat, general manager of a bakery shop cum cafe which recently opened in uptown Rajbagh area says people in large numbers are pre-booking orders for pastries and cakes.

“We are busy catering to bulk orders as festive demand for bakery like every year is quite high this Eid as well,” Bhat said.

Farhan Kitab, chief spokesman, Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers Federation says even though the rush of shoppers was picking up but purchasing power is quite low, he added.  Failure of the administration to release pending bills of contractors and other funds has created a hurdle for infusion of liquidity in the market, Kitab said.

“People are avoiding spending lavishly which has created a kind of slump in the markets. We hope the forthcoming wedding season after Eid will provide a turnaround for the businesses,”Kitab said. “Price hike of essentials such as mutton and chicken has proved to be quite a dampener. The frequent highway closure has also hit smooth delivery of supplies to the Valley,” Kitab said.

When asked why the department has failed to keep check on the market, Wani said, “We are frequently checking the markets and even I have personally visited some areas. People must come forward and make complaints to us in case they are being overcharged,” said Wani.