In run-up to Eid, profiteering hits people in Srinagar
Srinagar: Failure of authorities to check exorbitant prices of essentials is taking a heavy toll on consumers in the summer capital.
Mutton is sold at Rs 600 per kg. Government has fixed Rs 535 per kg. The chicken is also sold at Rs 170/kg to Rs 190/kg against the government-fixed rate of Rs 140/kg.
Given failure of checking squads on ground, people fear the exorbitant prices are likely to increase more.
In addition to this, vegetables, fruits and milk are also sold at exorbitant rates.
“In absence of market regulation, people are forced to make purchases at exorbitant rates in view of upcoming festival,” said Nadeem of Sonwar.
Even the mutton sellers in some areas were found to have shutdown front shutters but selling mutton at exorbitant rates from backdoor of shops. “They did it to hide from the eye of authorities,” said a group of consumers.
People alleged that authorities failed to take timely measures to check the menace of profiteering and are now just issuing statements on market regulation. They said there was a need for intensified market regulation around a week ago in view of the upcoming festival.
"Meetings and statements cannot suffice. It was the responsibility of authorities to initiate the measures to control prices, take stakeholders into confidence," said Showkat Ahmad of Rambagh.
A large number of people earn livelihood through manual labour in Kashmir. However, due to pandemic restrictions which were eased recently, they have not earned sufficient. This section of people is worst hit by profiteering.
"I have not earned a penny for two months due to COVID19 restrictions. How can I make my family to celebrate the Eid as chicken sells at 170/kg and mutton at over Rs 600/kg," said Ghulam Hassan of Downtown Srinagar who works as painter to earn livelihood.
Several callers, mostly comprising labourers, drivers, and daily wagers said that this Eid is going to be costly affair as due to failure of authorities to put a check on market prices. “Eid products is an unaffordable for us,” they said.
Mushtaq Ahmad Assistant Director (Enforcement) Department of Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs said that market checking has been intensified in view of upcoming Eid-ul-Adha and erring sellers are being dealt under law.
He added that a team of officials headed by Director FCS&CA Dr Abdul Salam Mir conducted the market checking in Srinagar inspected the rates of sacrificial animals and also various food establishments including chicken, mutton, fruit and vegetable shops.
“The team sealed four establishments, filed an FIR and recovered a fine of Rs 14200 from the erring shopkeepers. The rotten fruits and vegetables were also destroyed on spot in presence of the public,” he said.
He added that the team also interacted with people in markets and asked them to not pay more than what are government fixed rates.
“The black marketers as well as hoarders have been asked to refrain from such nefarious designs during the Eid period. The public in general has been asked to lodge their complaint on toll free number 18001807011 in case of any violation of rates in the market,” he said.