Profiteers minting money at special fair price points

  • Customers point out IMC admin’s failure to make sure selling items at already agreed price list

ISLAMABAD: The Ramzan Fair Price Bazaars set-up in the federal capital to facilitate the consumers have failed to serve the purpose as profiteers are witnessed charging the consumers heavily without fear in the holy month due to the absence of effective check and balance mechanism.

During the visit to the Sasta bazaars, it was observed that the markets attracted huge number of consumers because of the assurance by the administration that fruits and vegetables would be made available at reasonable price there.

However, it was quite surprising to note that the stall holders at the markets set-up by the Islamabad Metropolitan Corporation (IMC) were busy in selling the commodities in prices higher than given in the rate list. The consumers told this scribe that they were shocked to know that there was little or no difference in the prices when they visited the fair price markets in Sector G-7.

They said that the IMC established the Sasta Bazaar to provide commodities at cheaper rates to the citizens during the holy month, which is a good step; however the administration miserably failed to make sure selling the items at the already agreed price list.

Anwar Abbasi, a consumer, told this scribe that he came to the bazaar to get fruits and vegetables but there was hardly any price difference; hence it was unwise to come here in such a scorching heat. He said that prices of some of the items available in the bazaar were low but they were of very poor quality; hence busing such commodities of no use.

The prices of mangoes were ranging from Rs 100 to Rs 150, which was available at the same rate in the open market as well. Similarly, apple was available at the rate of Rs 100 to Rs 300 per kilograms; however the prices of vegetables including tomatoes, potatoes and lady fingers etc were fair.

Shahid Aziz, another consumer, said that the prices given at the rate list was not that bad but the authority should make efforts to ensure its implementation in true sense. He said that it was quite unfortunate that profiteers got active in the holy month and started looting the poor consumers but no action has been taken against them.

However, he said that the government was also responsible for the price hike because the government increased prices of the petroleum products ahead of the fasting month instead of increasing to give relief to the masses, providing good excuse to the sellers to increase the prices.

Talking to Pakistan Today, the stall holders said that it was not possible for them to sell all the items at cheaper rate since they have to buy them at higher rate in the fruit market. They said that they were trying their level best to ensure to sell the fruits and vegetable at the given price but it was not possible always.

The price of a dozen of bananas that was mentioned in the price list Rs 120 to Rs 170; however a stall holder was selling the best quality of bananas at a rate Rs 200. When he was asked about the rate, he said that since he bought it at higher price so how he could sell it as per the given rate mentioned in the rate list.

However, when this scribe approached Farrukh Billa, an in-charge of the sasta bazaar, he said that no one would be allowed to sale any item at the price higher than the rate given in the rate list. When he was taken to the said stall who was selling bananas in violation of the rate list, he strictly directed him to give the best quality of bananas at Rs 170 per dozen to all customers who were present there.

Billa said that he could also fine him for violation of the rate list; however it would give the authority bad name as people would star questioning as where the money will spend. So, he said that it was better to warn them once and if they kept on violating the rate list, they would be fined and would not allow to set-up their stalls there anymore.

He said that they were trying their level best to ensure provision of quality edible items at concessional rates to the residents at the Sasta Bazaars.