Citizens seek action against illegal price hikes of grocery items

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ISLAMABAD: Citizens of the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad on Friday sought the concerned authorities’ action against traders who are involved in unjustified price hikes of grocery items.

“Shopkeepers and vendors are demanding high prices for petty edibles of daily use without any justification,” complained Tanveer Sheikh, a citizen of Islamabad. He regretted that “shopkeepers were at liberty to raise prices of any product they want, whenever they want and no authority seems to stop them.”

“I have been paying an increased cost on every item on my grocery list for months,” Ayesha Aamir, a resident of Rawalpindi said.

She said that the shopkeepers do not have any solid or satisfying reason for ripping people off and simply blame the government when one inquires about the price hike. “They sarcastically remark that the change you desired for has finally arrived,” she added.

Another citizen, Asad Malik, said that he thought traders were compelled to raise grocery prices as fuel prices were gradually increasing, enhancing the cost of edibles.

A shopkeeper, Sultan Raza, justified the action saying, “We also have families to feed and want to see our business flourish but we are facing economic problems.”

A fruit and vegetable retailer, Tauqeer Ahmed, denied being a part of the whole matter saying that he follows and executes the daily rate list provided by the local authorities.

When contacted, the Market Committee chairman said, “Rate lists are revised weekly and especially whenever the government raises the prices of petroleum products.”

“We dispatch the list to shop-owners immediately and strictly order them to follow it,” he remarked.

He claimed that the prices of the edibles have gone down as compared to the past five years and admitted that traders were increasing prices at their own free will.

“Action is taken against profiteers and the city magistrate, assistant commissioners and deputy commissioners are bound to keep a strict check on edibles quality and to control the prices,” he added.

Deputy Commissioner (DC) Hamza Shafqaat said “We have welcomed the public bringing forward queries and complaints against those who violate the rate list. We have already closed down many shops for violating the law and imposed a heavy fine to stop the evil of profiteering,” he said.

He also said that he was accessible on social media and citizens can register their complaints with him.