|Early Times Report|
Srinagar, Feb 5: Amid frequent closure of Srinagar-Jammu National Highway, the shopkeepers are fleecing the customers by selling products at an exorbitant rates and bringing immense inconveniences to the common masses.
Despite the state administration claims to have set up special price control squads to check profiteering, the ground situation in the Valley's markets speak else, were the shopkeepers are dictating their own prices and put huge embarrassment to the local people. These shopkeepers take an advantage to people amid frequent closure of the Highway.
The people complain that butchers are selling mutton at exorbitant prices. People in downtown especially at Hawal, Soura, Khayam, Rainawari, Nawhatta, complained that they were charged Rs 480 for one kilogram of mutton against Rs 420 per kilogram fixed by the CAPD.
The people of uptown markets also complained that the official rates were openly violated by the butchers and poultry dealers in their areas.
"Last year the rate of mutton per Kg was 400 but today it is being sold at Rs 480. I protested to pay Rs 480 per kilogram of meat but the butcher at Khayam did no yield. I was bound to pay Rs 480 per kilogram or else I did not have to take meat home," said Zubair Ahmad, a resident of Hawal. "Dealers are brazenly selling mutton and chicken at higher rates. I had to buy per kilogram of chicken at Rs 150," said Javed Ahmad of Budgam.
People also expressed concern over the quality of the meat being sold in the Valley. "At Dalgate and Sonawar, shopkeepers sell poultry at 150 rupees per kg, while the concerned authority seems in deep slumber to check the price. These unscrupulous shopkeepers are looting customers but department special price control squads seems invisible in markets" said, Mushtaq Ahmad of Rajbagh.
Vegetable and fruit prices have also touched the sky were vendors like charging 100 rupees a dozen for bananas while 60 rupees a kg for tomatoes depending upon the buyers pursue. "Who could buy fruits and vegetables at higher rates?" asked Farooq Ahmad Bhat, a government teacher.
Locals also face huge shortage of cooking gas in the markets. The black marketers take the benefit and sell cooking gas cylinders at an exorbitant rates, said residents of Habba Kadal, Sonawar, Nishat and Barbar Shah. Admitting that dealers resorted to profiteering, the CAPD department said it's squad was regularly checking the market and booking the violators of the fixed rates.
"The departmental checking squad is functional properly and they have fined numbers of shopkeepers last one week who were indulging in selling products at higher rates," officials said.
But, the officials of CAPD admitted that department could do very little unless consumer and buyer listen to their conscience.
"Consumers never come up with complaints to us, so that we would fine those shopkeepers who are not adhering to our rate list. It is also responsibility for shopkeeper not to indulge in any illegal practise," said an official of the CAPD department.