Shopkeepers cash in on authorities’ mum

ISLAMABAD: Increase in prices of vegetables before the advent of Ramazan has squeezed the buying capacity of an overwhelming number of consumers in federal capital.

The City District Administration has hardly taken any notice of the upward trend in the rates of some vegetables and has given a free hand to traders to charge according to their desire. It transpired during a visit to the Sunday bazaars at G-6, G-10 and H-9, held under the banner of Capital Development Authority (CDA) that rates of a majority of vegetables have gone up during the last one-week.

Ginger, one of the most popular and demanding vegetables, is available to buyers in the Sunday bazaars at Rs 120/kg while its retail rates are around Rs 135 per kg in city markets.

In CDA bazaars the rates of potato, the most demanding vegetable of almost every kitchen has also surged to Rs 90 to Rs 100/ 5 kg. Onion rates also surged to Rs 80/ 5 kg to Rs 110/ 5 kg.

Tomato prices have also gone up as its wholesale rates have surged to Rs 45 to Rs 50 per kg. The necessary item of Ramadan- Date price has soared upto Rs 200 to Rs 300/ kg (first class), while for class two Date price was fixed to Rs 150 to Rs 200.

Another sharp increase was noticed in the price of garlic, which is currently available at Rs 200 per kg as compared to old rates of Rs 190 for the same weight. Its retail rates also surged to Rs 220 to Rs 230 per kg pushing it beyond the buying capacity of majority of buyers. Vegetable and fruit vendors acknowledged about the sharp increase in prices of some of the vegetables.

Besides vegetables, the price of fruits including mango, apricot and plums goes up to before the advent of Ramazan. The minimum price of mango is Rs 75/Kg, apricot price was Rs 60/Kg and plums minimum price was Rs 60 to 70/Kg in Sunday bazaars.

Chicken prices were also found on the highest way with the rate of Rs 160/ kg while Desi Chicken was sell at the rate of Rs 280/ kg. Shortage of supply of chicken items in CDA bazaars was also witnessed that perturbed the customers. The vendors selling chicken blamed poultry forms responsible for the low production of chicken this summer. “This year supplier of chicken was not sufficient to fulfill the demand of customers and the rates are also very high because of low breeding,” said a vendor.

Vendors of fruit and vegetables also blamed the situation on account of previous year’s widespread rains and flood in KPK and Balochistan, damaging large quantity of vegetables.

These two areas are regarded as the major source of vegetable supply to Islamabad and any disruption owing to some unexpected problem always pushes their rates higher. As regarding sharp increase in garlic rates, he claimed that it is imported in bulk from China and persistent devaluation in the value of the local currency had adverse impact on its rates.

CDA Bazar Inspector Ch Kamran said that on this Sunday, administration has fined Rs 4500 to various stallholders who were found violating the price rate and selling sub-standard vegetables and fruits.

He said CDA Bazaar staff remained busy in monitoring the stalls all the day and whenever we found vendors violating the rules and regulations of Bazaar, the administration takes strict action penalizing them Rs 200- 500 fine.