Market prices of eatables have witnessed exorbitant hike in absence of regulation by the different government agencies in Kashmir division.
The Food Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs (FCSCA) 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.
“Despite hue and cry over rising prices, the FCSCA department has failed to act on ground and regulate the rates of eatable products,” said Zubair Ahmad, a local resident of Baramulla.
The complaints of overpricing by retailers are received from all districts of Kashmir amid the failure of the authorities to regulate the rate list issued some months ago. This newspaper carried a series of stories about the illegal market inflation wherein the officials at the helm of affairs claimed to press checking squads to control the illegal inflation.
However the Food Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs (FCSCA) department has failed to bring a respite for the general public.
“It seems that the department has given license to the retailers and wholesalers to sell the products at exorbitant rates. There is no monitoring on ground at all,” said Saquib Ahmad, a local resident of Sopore.
Amid the complaints of overpricing in the market, a top official said the government rates were not implemented in the market due to the lack of coordination between the departments.
He said the regulation and monitoring of government rates can be achieved due to the joint efforts of FCSCA, Legal Metrology Department (LMD), Food Safety department besides Police and concerned municipal authorities.
“FCSCA department cannot not stop illegal market inflation at individual level, it needs the support of police while sealing any shop. It needs employees from LMD to check weighing machines and also requires support of food safety to check quality of products,” an official said.
He further said besides tightening noose against retailers, the government needs to regulate and fix the price of chicken, meat, fruits and vegetables of wholesalers. “Then only we can implement the rates of retailers in the market. Otherwise the retailers play victim hood saying they purchase at high rates from wholesalers,” the official said.
The FCSCA has also failed to issue a revised rate list of all fruits and vegetables for the last three months which otherwise is supposed to be issued on a monthly basis.
“The rate list of fruits and vegetables should be issued on a monthly basis. The department notified the rate list three months ago which is not implemented on ground,” the official said adding that the rate list is issued on the basis of the supply and demand of the product.
While the department of FCSCA has failed to control the overpricing, the consumers have urged the divisional administration for the intervention and bring relief for the public. A top official said the department and the divisional administration Kashmir was already aware of the issue. “we are at it and the market checking squads will be activated to regulate the prices,” an official said.