As usual gridlocks have returned to Srinagar because of Eid shopping. This has been the same story on every Eid for last so many years. Right from last Monday there has been rush of shoppers in different areas. The traffic congestion, in fact, a total gridlock has been observed both in the down town areas as well as in the civil lines. It is usual for people to visit various shopping areas a few days before Eid to buy clothes, and food items. The main problem crops up when people go in their own vehicles everywhere, park these wherever they like and go for shopping. This habit is virtually ingrained in the local population whether Eid or no Eid. This habit people are refusing to give up in spite of many campaigns by the Traffic Police. Because of the huge number of vehicles it is virtually impossible for the Traffic Police to handle this mess. The only practical solution is to totally close the entry and movement of vehicles in the main shopping areas just few days ahead of Eid. People should have no possibility of taking their vehicles in the main shopping areas as happens abroad. The vehicles must be parked away from these areas and the people should be made to go and walk around the shopping areas on foot. The mess is also caused by the defective traffic signals. The government needs to devise a plan in advance to handle these gridlocks so that the menace is not faced on every festive occasion.
Apart from traffic mess, the other problem during Eid shopping is the unreasonable price rise. Ahead of Eid there is lot shopping of items like clothing and readymade dresses. A few days before the actual festival people go round to buy poultry, mutton, bakery products, vegetables, cottage cheese etc. However, it is a practice now for all shopkeepers to hike the prices during Eid and other festivals due to failure of Consumer Affairs Department to ensure sale of goods according to the price lists issued by them on these occasions. There have been reports of the Department Officers undertaking inspections both to check the price as also the quality of goods and hygienic conditions for the preparation of various items. In fact, a famous bakery outlet has been imposed a fine for failing to maintain hygienic conditions during preparation of various items. When asked about the price rise some of the shopkeepers remarked that they had suffered many losses due to shutdowns and disturbed conditions recently and they were trying to make good these losses. Well, that is not a fair practice! Incidentally, the endless shutdowns have definitely affected the traders!