In run up to Eid, profiteers rule the roost

For the past several days, people from different areas here have been complaining about essentials being solid at exorbitant rates, even as authorities claim having set-up special squads to check profiteering on the eve of Eid-ul-Adha.

Consumers from different areas complained that mutton was being sold at Rs 650 per kg instead of the government fixed rate of Rs 440 per kg.

Some callers from Zainakadal, Habakadal, HMT, Nishat and Chanapora shared similar complaints and said that even cheese was being sold at Rs 270 per kg.

They complained there were no market-checking teams on the ground, thus giving free hand to shopkeepers and vendors to violate the government-fixed rates.

“Vegetables like potatoes, tomatoes and radishes are also being sold at exorbitant rates. People have no option but to pay extra bucks even in these trying times,” said Syed Qasim Kashani of Gojwara.

Many people said shopkeepers were resorting to profiteering under the nose of authorities. “There is complete failure of market regulation,” they said.

In view of upcoming Eid, the demand for essential commodities has increased manifold. The demand for mutton, chicken, bakery and other commodities has grown manifold.

There are several agencies responsible for checking the menace of profiteering. One of the major departments which fix rates of essential commodities is department of Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs (FCSCA).

Due to over profiteering, celebration of festival is going to be a costly affair for poor, complained people.

Given absence of checking squads on the ground, people fear the price would increase further. People said authorities should take timely measures to check the menace of profiteering. They said there was need for intensified market regulation in view of Eid festival.

FCSCA Director, Bashir Ahmad Khan said they were taking action under law against the profiteers. “Combined teams of various agencies, as per the directions of divisional administration, are active on the ground,” he said. “We are taking notice of complaints and acting under law.”