Profiteering, hoarding take toll on people

Greater Kashmir

In the wake of recent week-long Srinagar-Jammu National Highway closure, complaints of profiteering and hoarding have increased in Kashmir.

The consumers from across Kashmir alleged that the authorities have failed to check hoarding and profiteering. They also complained that the department of Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs itself has reduced the quantum of ration to its consumers.

Greater Kashmir received many complaints from consumers from across Kashmir alleging that there was no official rate list for vegetables and other essential items in place. “If you check the FCSCA website, you will not find any defined rate list of vegetables and other essential commodities. There are only a few items which are traditionally displayed on the website. Ironically, these items are also not sold as per the government designated rates,” said Farooq Ahmed, a consumer.

Some recent market surveys by Greater Kashmir revealed that the rates of vegetables like onions and tomatoes had touched Rs 100 per kg while green vegetables like cabbage, beans and other pulses were being sold at exorbitant rates during highway closure.

The consumer alleged that the authorities have also failed to control the prices of meat and poultry.

Meanwhile, following the reports of curtailment in ration, many political parties came out strongly against it and urged the Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha to look into the issue.

A senior official from FCSCA told Greater Kashmir that they had instructions that only those consumers who are enrolled officially on the departmental portal were entitled to ration.

“We got instruction from the administration to distribute the ration according to the official portal registration. The process was going on for the past few months and many are yet to register. This is the reason that people are being left out. People are not serious to register themselves,” an official said.

The officials from FCSCA said that in view of the highway closure they had taken all the necessary steps to ensure supplies do not get affected.

FCSCA Deputy Director (Supplies), Muhammad Akbar told Greater Kashmir that there was enough stock available and they were doing everything they could to check hoarding and profiteering.

“As of today, there is LPG stock for 10 days, diesel for 12 days and kerosene for 25 days. As far as petrol is concerned, we have its stock for six days. There are many traders who indulge in hoarding and selling essentials including vegetables at higher rates. We are taking action and registering FIRs against them. We have also sealed many shops found violating rules,” Akbar said.

He said keeping in view the winter and highway closures, few weeks back they fixed the rate list for the essential goods while taking all stakeholders into confidence. “We understand there are violators and our market checking squads are keeping an eye on them,” he said.