Rising Prices: J&K Govt Constitutes Team To Curb Black Marketing

Srinagar- The Jammu and Kashmir administration on Tuesday said that market checking committees have been constituted in view of the complaints regarding the selling of essential commodities at exorbitant rates in the holy month of Ramazan.

Talking to Kashmir Observer, Director FCSCA Kashmir Abdul Salam Mir said they have intensified the market checking since the start of the month and have taken strict action against the traders who are involved in selling the items at exorbitant rates.

It may be noted that since the start of the holy month of Ramazan, the traders in Kashmir have been accused of selling the essential commodities at exorbitant rates across the valley.
The market goers complain that prices of fruits, vegetables, meat and chicken in local markets have risen sharply during the holy month of Ramazan.

The sudden spike in prices has left the consumers at the receiving end. A number of consumers told Kashmir Observer that the market checking squads of the Food Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs (FCSCA) department are missing from the field.

When asked why prices of essential commodities shoot up in Ramazan, the
Director FCSCA said people need to introspect as a Muslim whether they should do it ( selling the essential items on exorbitant rates) or not that too in this holy month.

“The non-Muslims during their festivals give special discounts to the people and will never cheat their customers,” Mir said.

He said that they have intensified marketing checking across the valley and have imposed heavy fines on the traders, who react to such activities.

“Wherever the people complain to us, we impose the fine and then seal the shop/carts,” he said, adding that the people need to co-operate and inform them about such activities.

He said they received several complaints regarding chicken wholesale dealers. The department had fixed prices of broiler chicken at Rs 152 per kilogram; however the poultry shops across the Valley sell chicken between Rs 160-Rs 170. “We asked them to shut the business”

Similarly, the price of mutton was fixed at Rs 490 per kilogram, last year but it is being sold at Rs 600 across the valley.

“A delegation of mutton dealers approached us to change the rates but we refused to do so,” he added.

When asked how much fine has been recovered so far from the erring traders, he said, the department till April 9 has recovered a sum of Rs 25000 as fine across the valley.

While sharing the data, the department has inspected over 723 establishments across the valley as on 09 April and over 98 defaulters were penalized.

The director further revealed that over 547 defaulters were penalized in the month of March and over Rs 20000 have been recovered as a fine.

However, the consumers alleged that the Union Territory (UT) administration has not ensured enough measures to keep a check on the rising food prices.

“The shopkeepers have been taking undue advantage of the festival season and have been selling these essential commodities at varying prices on their own,” said Shafeeq Ahmad, a resident of HMT Srinagar.

The prices of some fruits and essentials which are being consumed by the people including dates, watermelons, bananas, meat and chicken have skyrocketed since the commencement of the holy month.

Watermelons are being sold at Rs 50 per kg while bananas are being sold between 100-120 per dozen.

Many consumers alleged that even after the various teams of FCSCA department can be seen in the field and taking action, however the erring shopkeepers and vendors but nothing changed on ground.

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Auqib Javeed

Auqib Javeed is special correspondent with Kashmir Observer and tweets @AuqibJaveed

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