Sudden surge in prices: Aam admi feels the heat

Complaining sudden surge in the prices of essential commodities, the consumers here today blamed the Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution Department for “failing to check black marketing and hoarding.”
The rates of essential commodities in last few days have witnessed sudden spurt in view of Eid festival, the consumers complained. 
Expressing resentment over the “slack” approach of the CAPD, the consumers alleged that the department had failed to take action against the hoarders and black-marketers, who they said were chiefly responsible for the price hike. 
People from various areas of Srinagar city said that every time ahead of festive occasions the traders arbitrarily increase the prices.
“In absence of any effective check by the authorities, the hoarders resort to profiteering,” Muhammad Ramzan , a local said. 
A cross section people who talked to Greater Kashmir complained about the increase in fruit prices.  “I think the fruit vendors are taking the consumers for a ride as they are selling the fruit on exorbitant rates,” Ajaz Ahmad, a Srinagar resident said. 
Many consumers also complained against the “arbitrary” pricing of confectionaries and sweets. “We fail to understand how the confectionary shops are fixing the rates. There is almost 50 per cent increase in the prices of some sweets. The consumers have no choice but to pay because no authority is on the ground to check this menace,” said Abdul Latief of Safakdadal.
The consumers complained that on the eve of Eid the mutton was sold at Rs 360 to Rs 380 per kg against the government fixed rate of Rs 310.
“The CAPD had notified mutton rates asking the retailers to sell meat at Rs 310 per kg but they were openly selling it at Rs 360 to 380 per kg,” Latief added.
When contacted, Director, CAPD, Bilal Ahmad Bhat said: “We had constituted four teams who inspected various markets in Kashmir and took action against the hoarders.”
He said the CAPD will ensure that every market place will have department’s approved rate lists displayed at conspicuous places, so as to provide information about the prices of essential commodities to general public.
“We appeal people that if they have any complaints regarding black marketing they should contact the directorate office,” he said. 
On mutton prices, Bhat said there was some legal issue with the pricing of mutton.” Now the matter has been resolved and rates of mutton will be issued soon.”
Pertinently, the High Court in a petition earlier had directed the CAPD to ensure in association with several other government agencies that government approved rate lists are put on display at public places for the information of general masses.
According to the court such a practice could help check profiteering and arbitrary price hikes by the traders.

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