For same vegetables and fruits, different vendors charge different prices
Srinagar, Apr 23: With Valley being placed under unprecedented lock-down to contain the spread of Covid-19, vendors are taking full advantage of the situation and sell vegetables to customers at higher rates.
Most of the vegetable sellers, sell these vegetables on footpaths and road-sides during evening hours. To evade the gaze of regulating authorities, they erect their stalls in streets or deserted corners where consumers flock in dozens and are looted by these vendors.
Eyewitnesses told Kashmir News Trust that helpless people are being forced to pay more than the prescribed rates. Take the Mehjoor Nagar area of Srinagar, here vendors are erecting stalls at every 10 feet, selling fruits and vegetables. “One vendor will sell you a dozen oranges for Rs 50, another for 80, next one for 100 and even some will sell for Rs 120. The quality is same and rates are different,” said Javaid Ahmed, a resident of the area.
Same is the situation in other parts including Zainakadal, Habakadal, HMT, Dalgate, Nishat, Nowgam, Natipora, Chanapora, Sonawara interiors.
“I purchased one kg onion for Rs 30 at Sabzi Mandi and the same was offered for Rs 80 outside the Mandi,” said Ghulam Qadir alleging that Department of Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs (FCSCA) has miserably failed to regulate prices and it’s role is limited to issuing warnings through press statements only.
“The prices charged by these vegetable seller are starkly different from the selling prices,” said a woman adding that she paid Rs 150 for a kilo-gram of ‘wasta haakh’.
Due to lockdown, vegetable and fruit prices increased fourfold in Srinagar city. This is despite abundant stocks being available in the market, according to sources. It is learnt that the prices of onions are skyrocketing yet again. Buyers are worried that the vendors may block the stock to further hike the prices.
A couple of days ago, one kilogram of tomatoes was sold for Rs 30, onions for Rs 70, potatoes for Rs 25, brinjal for Rs 15, and okra for Rs 30. These are now being sold at exorbitant prices — double or triple the existing price. In fact, some people who had gone to markets to hoard vegetables had to return empty-handed due to the exorbitant rates.
“As there’s a surge in buyers, the vendors have increased the prices from 200 to 300 per cent. The vegetables, namely bottle gourd, cabbage, beans, capsicum, potato, and carrots, were sold at normal prices before lockdown but in no time, the prices were increased by the vendors themselves,” said Mushtaq Ahmed who again blamed Department of Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs and said it is in deep slumber.
Fatima Rashid, another buyer said, “Earlier, for Rs 100, I bought at least 2 to 3 kg of different vegetables. Now, I cannot even buy half of it with the same money. The State government should take measures to control the overpricing and initiate strict action against the vendors looting common people.
The irony is that there is none to take care of these fruit sellers. “These fruit sellers loot people at will and still go unnoticed.
As usual, Director Department of Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs, Bashir Ahmed Khan told KNT that he will activate market checking squad. He said strict action will be initiated against vendors selling vegetables and fruits on high rates