Shopkeepers blame inflation when asked about violation of market rates

Zubair Qureshi

As the Eid draws closer, prices of lemon, tomatoes, mutton, beef and other food items have gone beyond common man’s reach despite the tall claims of the new government.

It was no less than a surprise rather, a shock for customers when shopkeepers demanded Rs1,000 for 1-kg lemon and Rs200 for 1-kg tomatoes in Karachi Company (G-9/4) markets. A day earlier, tomatoes were available for just Rs80/ per kg.

When asked why they were demanding such a high price the shopkeepers said they had bought them at the hiked price from the Islamabad fruit & vegetable market.

The customers, mostly low-income middle class families complained of increased prices adding the food items they purchased for such a high price were also of poor quality.

Fakhra Batool, a resident of the Sector E-11 said she had come to the G-9/4 market in search of fresh vegetables and fruit as Eid was around the corner and obviously like other families, she too planned to cook special dishes but the prices of ordinary vegetables and food items had made her nervous.

This is because of the absence of proper check and balance mechanism and the district administration’s leniency that have left the shopkeepers demanding the prices of their choice, she complained.

Akhtar, another customer in the market, also complained of increased prices and little check by the authorities. Mutton is selling for Rs1300 per kg while the market rate is Rs1100, he said. Similarly, beef that should be sold for Rs600 or Rs650 is selling for Rs800 and when we ask the butcher, he simply blames inflation.

Likewise, chicken that was selling for Rs400 per kg was available for Rs500. Who is monitoring them and where are the authorities that claimed that after the new government prices would come down, he asked. Not only in Karachi Company, but in Aabpara, Sitara Market and F-10 Markaz too, people complained of price hike.

Meanwhile, according to a handout by the Islamabad Capital Territory Authority (ICTA) on Saturday, Assistant Commissioners / Special Magistrates deputed by ICT Administration to ensure availability of essential commodities including fruits and vegetables in accordance with the government notified rates, inspected 359 shops in various sectors / markets of Islamabad.