LAHORE: Vegetable prices are likely to remain high for the next few months in the city, thanks to the apathy of the district and provincial administrations.
The average price of vegetables was Rs 50 per kg in Shadman Sunday bazaar; usually during this period, these prices are down at about Rs 20 to 30 per kg.
The situation in the Shadman Sunday bazaar was very pathetic. Tomatoes and onions were unavailable at most of the shops and overcharging continued openly despite the presence of market committee officials. The prices of vegetables were higher than the official rates list given to vendors by the market committee.
The retail price of tomato remained Rs 120 to 140 per kg, small onion Rs 70 per kg and big onion Rs 100 per kg. The price of pea remained the highest as it was selling at Rs 240 per kg in the retail market.
Vendor Rafaqat Hussain said he cannot do anything to control the prices. “The price of tomatoes in the wholesale market was Rs 700 per five kg. Therefore, I did not purchase tomatoes from the main market as most of the customers argue about their prices.”
The prices of tomato and small onion are expected to come down in coming days as trucks loads have reached the city from Iran, Afghanistan and other provinces like Sindh and Balochistan.
Vegetable trader Muhammad Afzal said that tomato and onion crop is also ready in Punjab and fresh supply of both perishable items will reach the city in few days; consequently prices of these items will drop.
Afzal blamed poor rainfall for the spiraling prices of vegetables in the city and flawed government policy of not importing vegetables from India.
“It will take one to two months for arrivals of vegetables to start from these areas where rain has been good enough in Sindh and Balochistan,” he said.
He said that there is no shortage of vegetables in the market but the demand is too high and therefore prices have not reduced.
Citizen Rana Kamran said that he had never experienced such steep prices in his life. “The common man is no longer able to buy vegetables but there is no substitute to them. Onions and tomatoes are used in every dish but they are more expensive than chicken.”
Market Committee Inspector Riaz Bhatti said that the officials of the city district government have become active and are taking action against profiteers and vegetable traders. “We have already controlled the prices of tomatoes and onions and will be able to arrest those selling vegetables at high prices. No one will be spared in this regard. ”