Prices of edibles go up

In the wake of closure of Jammu-Srinagar National Highway the prices of essential commodities including meat and poultry in Kashmir have gone up.

Several consumers complained that the unscrupulous shopkeepers taking undue advantage of the highway closure were resorting to profiteering.

Fahmida, a homemaker from Dargah said authorities must take strict action against profiteers. “I purchased mutton for Rs 550 a kg. This is open loot that too in the month of holy Ramadan.”

Inhabitants of Rainawari, Qamarwari, HMT, Sanat Nagar, Barzulla and several other areas complained that the rates of chicken and mutton have become unaffordable.

The Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution (CAPD) recently fixed Rs 150 rate per kilogram for chicken.  “At Jawahar Nagar the chicken is being sold for Rs 160 per kg while at Bagh-e-Mehtab it is at Rs 160- Rs 170,” consumers complained.

“The vegetables such as tomatoes and peas that were sold at Rs 30 – Rs 40 two weeks ago are now available at Rs 70 – Rs 80 in most of uptown and downtown markets of Srinagar,” they said.

However, the traders said the prices of vegetables will stabilize once local production comes in the market.

People from various district headquarters also complained overpricing.

CAPD officials said its enforcement wings with the help of the police “are imposing penalties on erring traders.”

However, the consumers are not satisfied.  “The officials conduct market checking only for photo-opportunities or when there is a festival approaching. Even the traders who are fined, recover it from the customers by overpricing the goods,” said Farooq Ahmad, a consumer.

When contacted, director CAPD, Muhammad QasimWani said that fine worth Rs 2 lakh was imposed on erring shopkeepers across the Valley on Saturday.

He said the market checking teams were making frequent surprise visits/checks.

“People must be cooperative and inform us on our hotline number, whenever they are being overcharged. We are making all efforts to ensure that people are not overcharged,” he said.