ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) administration has formed a special committee to ensure sale of edible items especially vegetables and fruit at controlled rates during the holy month of Ramazan.
“The 20-member committee is headed by Deputy Commissioner , Additional Deputy Commissioners, Naib Tehisldars, Tehisldar, Excise and Taxation officers, Directors Excise and Food are among members of the committee, who will have all magisterial powers,” City Administration spokesman Muhammad Khalid told APP.
He said an effective strategy had been devised to avoid hoarding of edible items and ensure their availability as per approved rate lists, which are issued on daily basis. The Islamabad Chief Commissioner, he said, had recently held a meeting and directed the committee members to ensure the availability of commodities at controlled rates and take strict action against those found involved in creating artificial shortage and overcharging.
The committee members would visit different markets on daily basis to keep an eye on prices during Ramazan and impose heavy fines on violators so that exploitation of public from the hands of profiteers could be avoided.
He said additional stalls had been set up at I-11 fruit and vegetable market, which would remain open round-the-clock during Ramazan, while weekly bazaars at G-9 and G-6 would operate throughout the month without any break. “During first 10 days of the month, as many as 300 percent increased supplies will be ensured at these markets to meet demands of consumers,” he added.
Meanwhile, it has been observed that the situation on ground is contrary to the arrangements made for facilitation of faithful, who are preparing for the fasting month, as a variety of fruit has already gone beyond reach of a common man due to exorbitant rates.
Citizens of the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi demanded of the authorities concerned to devise an effective strategy to deal with hoarders and profiteers, besides regular checking of measuring and weighing gadgets.
During visit of different markets including Aabpara market,Sitaraa Market,Khanna pull and Kurri road’s market, this scribe witnessed that apple was being sold at Rs 120 per kilogram, Banana Rs 120 per dozen , melon Rs 35 per kg and peach Rs 200 per kg against the rates fixed by ICT of Rs 80,Rs 95 , Rs 25 and Rs 100 respectively.
Asghar Abbasi, a buyer at Aabpara market, said it seems that no mechanism of price control existed as shopkeepers and stallholders were busy in selling edible items at their own rates, setting aside approved price lists.
Although, he said, the district administration was establishing additional stalls at its seven weekly bazaars to facilitate faithful, but it would be futile exercise, if proper relief was not provided to a common man by ensuring quality and quantity of commodities at subsidized rates.
Asghar suggested to establish more markets like H-9, G-10 and G-6 bazars as these facilities were extremely insufficient to cater the needs of over 10 million population of the capital. “I wish there could be a government regulated bazar near to my home as i m forced to exploit from the hands of these hoarders,” he added.
Another costumer at Kurri road market, Saleem Khan said it was unfortunate that prices of daily use edible items had gone up ahead of Ramzan ,pointing out that B category vegetables and fruits were being sold at the rate of A category.
An official of Rawalpindi’s city administration said FIRs (First Information Reports) were being registered against profiteers besides imposing heavy fines on them , adding that a plan had been devised to deal with profiteers with iron hands.