Srinagar: The prices of vegetables and fruits are at an all-time high in Kashmir owing to the non-regulation of the prices by the Department of Food Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs (FCSCA).
The sluggishness on the part of the competent authorities to regulate the rates of eatables and essentials is giving a tough time to the consumers.
The market prices of eatables have witnessed exorbitant hikes in absence of any enforcement by the FCSCA in markets to regulate the rates of essential commodities.
The FCSCA department has received severe criticism from all walks of life over its failure to revise the rate list of all eatables including fruits and vegetables which has given a free hand to the retailers to fix the prices as per their own will.
“The FCSCA has failed to act on the ground and regulate the rates of edible products despite hue and cry over the rising prices,” said Tariq Ahmad of Baramulla.
The complaints of overpricing by the retailers are pouring in from all districts of Kashmir amid the failure of authorities to issue a revised rate list of eatables.
“The department wakes up only when voice is raised against inflation in the market and later the enforcement dies down. Market enforcement should be made a routine exercise,” said Abdul Rasheed, a resident of Srinagar.
An official while admitting the inflation said that the enforcement had become weak due to the lack of manpower.
“We are planning to fill the vacancies in the enforcement wings and start intensive market drives to regulate the rate lists,” the official said.
However, he admitted that the rate list of vegetables and fruits should be revised every two weeks during winter given the daily fluctuation in rates.
“The irony is that maximum time is utilised in the meetings and market enforcement remains the least priority,” he said.
Greater Kashmir carried a series of stories about illegal market inflation and the plight of consumers. However, the FCSCA has failed to bring a respite to the masses.
The prices of tomatoes have gone beyond Rs 80 per kg while the prices of other vegetables and fruits too are also unaffordable.
“The rates vary every two days and no shopkeeper has an authorised rate list displayed at the shops. Nobody makes them accountable,” another consumer said.
Director FCSCA Kashmir Abdul Salam Mir told Greater Kashmir that there was proper monitoring on the ground but the rates fluctuate every two days which makes it difficult for the department to frame the rate list.
“Another issue is that the rates are not fixed by the local retailers but in mandis outside J&K. So we can’t force the local vendors here to follow a particular rate list,” Mir said. “We have to think about the business of local shopkeepers as well because they follow the rates fixed in outside mandis.”
He said that the department would still try to look into the issue and revise the rate lists every week.