It is good that government teams intensified market checking in several areas ahead of Eid-ul-Adha. Such moves are always welcomed by people. If the drives are not launched, there is a likelihood of profiteering and selling of substandard or expired food related items by a number of shopkeepers in the market.
Whenever there are festivals like Eid or the holy month of Ramadhan, the prices go up at several bakery, confectionery, grocery, vegetable, fruits, milk, meat and chicken selling shops. While all the shopkeepers do not indulge in such illegal practice but a sizeable number do. T
he government teams conduct inspections in some areas during the festivals or during the holy month of Ramadhan, but there is need to extensive and permanent market checking. Checking in limited areas does not prove that effective and has to be extended to a wider scale.
The government departments do not have that much of staff that can reach everywhere simultaneously. There is requirement to strengthen the manpower of such teams to make them more effective and their actions more result oriented. Such drives should be made broad-based with people's cooperation also.
The government teams say that most consumers succumb to the malpractices of the shopkeepers and do not complain. According to them they can not reach everywhere and it is the responsibility of the citizens to come forward and lodge a complaint if they are the victims.
The officials view that if the customers cooperate the erring shopkeepers can be dealt with sternly. Such actions can prevent other shopkeepers from indulging in such things. The provisions of Food Safety and Standards Act must not be violated.
It must be ensured that all the essential commodities and other food items are sold at government approved rates as per the quality standards. The shopkeepers failing to maintain the quality of food items, not displaying rate lists, or selling expired products, indulging profiteering and selling underweight products have to be booked.
More importantly the drives should not be for some time only and then stopped. It should be a permanent feature throughout the year. Because the prices of meat, chicken, vegetables and fruits go up whenever the shopkeepers wish.
The prices are also raised when the Srinagar - Jammu gets blocked for more days due to landslides or shooting stones or snowfall during winter.