LAHORE: The prices of tomato and onion eased in the retail market after the provincial and district administrations took action against profiteers and improved supply of the perishable items.
The price of onion and tomato were selling at Rs 60 to 80 per kg and Rs 100 to 120 kg respectively in the retail market, depending on size and quality of the product. The official price of onion was fixed at Rs 52 per kg while official price of tomato was fixed at Rs 92 per kg in Shadman Sunday bazaar.
Over the past few days, the price of onion and tomato had reached Rs 120-130 per kg and over Rs 200 respectively in the past few days. Normally tomato sells for Rs 30 per kg and onion at Rs 40 per kg.
Market Committee Inspector Riaz Bhatti said that the officials of city district government and the provincial government jointly carried surveys and searches in the offices, godowns, and homes of onion and tomato traders in the city who according to him, had the capacity to buy 30 per cent of the total arrivals in the wholesale market. This action created panic among the onion and tomato traders and resulted in a huge dip in wholesale prices of onion and tomato.
Riaz further said that besides taking action against traders, the provincial government also improved supply from neighbouring countries Iran and Afghanistan and as well as provinces Sindh and Balochistan in the market. Therefore, he said, the prices of both the commodities have starting easing up in the market.
Vendor Riasat Ali said that the prices of onions and tomatoes eased after better supply in the market.
“I earn Rs 3 to Rs 5 profit per kg in the sale of onion and tomato regardless of the prices in the wholesale market. I have bought onions at the rate of Rs 350 per 5 kg and have been selling it at Rs 80 per kg. My profit margin remains the same. Therefore, I have no concern about the price of these essential commodities.”
Citizen Abdul Karim was critical of the government over skyrocketing prices of vegetables in the market. “I never bothered about prices of fruits and vegetables. But today, after listening of high prices of commodities, I have been forced to purchase vegetables in limited numbers. ”
In past few months, the prices of tomato were showing an increasing trend in Lahore and other cities across the province. Last week, the Lahore High Court (LHC) sought a reply from the Punjab government within two weeks on a plea against the shortage of vegetables and price hike of tomatoes all over the province. The court had asked the district administration to provide it all the details of the cost of the vegetables.
The petitioner had told the LHC that the prices of the tomatoes had reached to Rs 300 per kilogramme, while the Punjab government failed to control the increase in rates. The petitioner added that it also failed to meet the consumer demand for tomatoes. He urged the court to order the government to decrease the prices of tomatoes and ensure proper supply in the market.