Sheikh Imran Bashir
Agence India Press
Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir State Muslims raised complaints that the prices of fruits, vegetables and meat in local markets have risen sharply during the holy month of Ramadan.
The locals also complained that the state government has not ensured enough measures to keep a check on the rising food prices.
Locals claim shopkeepers have been taking undue advantage of the festival season and have been selling these essential commodities at varying prices, pegged by them.
Soaring food prices is a huge setback for Muslims as during the Ramadan holy month, families enjoy more elaborate evening meals after the long daylight fast.
Local Ghulam Ahmad told Agence India Press that public feels the pinch when they buy the fruits, vegetables, and meat at such inflated prices but festivities leave them with no other alternative.
Therefore, despite inflated prices, wholesale fruit and vegetable market in Srinagar was bustling with shoppers purchasing fruits, vegetables, sweets, milk, and meat for Iftar.
“In the holy month of Ramadan when prices should have been low, the situation in Kashmir is completely opposite. Here, at this time, the prices have sky-touched especially that of fruits. It’s being sold in one place at Rupees 40 and in another place at Rupees 60, there is no fixed price. Government is claiming that they have been monitoring the markets, but situation still remains bad,” said Ahmad.
Locals blamed the state government, particularly the department for consumer affairs public distribution (CAPD) for not monitoring and checking the market prices during the Ramadan month when shopkeepers tend to fix prices at high rates.
“The government is to be blamed or rather the food supplies department who has not been checking the rates in the markets. I went to a meat shop and asked the price, he quoted it to be Rupees 280 when the government has fixed it at Rupees 240, when I told this to the seller, he said I was not in my right mind. If I fight, police would take me into task and not the seller. Fruits are being sold at varying prices, apples and fruits are local products, they should be the least priced. Vegetables are also being sold at extremely high prices, what a poor man will eat?” said local Nisar Ahmad.
While talking to Agence India Press, Director of Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution department, Abdul Wahid Tak refuted these charges and said the department has been regularly monitoring the market with increased department checks conducted in this period.
Tak affirmed that some sellers were taking advantage of the festival season and were selling commodities at higher rates.
“The market is being checked by our department on a regular basis, even before the holy month of Ramadan began. I myself have gone with an official to take a round in the markets. Lal Bazaar, Down Town, Hazratbal, Qamarwari, I have personally taken rounds in these markets. Deputy Director and other senior officials too have taken rounds; the inspection, in fact, has been stepped up considering the festival season,” said Tak. (AIP)