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LAHORE: Despite the tall claims of the provincial government and city administration, a dearth of facilities, high prices, overcharging, substandard commodities and profiteering continue unchecked as a routine matter in all almost all Sunday Bazaars across the city.
Negligence of the City District Government (CDG) authorities concerned, the bazaars are starting to lose their luster. Although Sunday Bazaars are set up by the government to give price relief to the poor and lower-middle-class segment of the society, they have failed to deliver and are a source of ‘income’ for the city managers only and vendors openly fleece the public.
According to a survey of Sunday bazaars conducted by Pakistan Today in different localities of the provincial capital including Ayubia Market, Shadman Colony, Islampura, Gulshan-e-Ravi, Karim Park and other bazaars in the city, the consumers complained that the vendors are overcharging and supplying substandard commodities to them and that too at inflated rates in various Sunday bazaars of the city.
The consumers said that the shopkeepers were selling them substandard products at high prices and there was no check on them. They also said that the administration did not provide tents, potable water and other facilities at the bazaars. The security situation at the entry and exit points of these bazaars was also not up to the mark.
So far, the price of potatoes and onions have not increased, but the situation was opposite for tomatoes. The price of new potato was fixed at Rs 30 per kg and onion at Rs 29 per kg. About one to two stalls of tomatoes were set up in every Sunday bazaar but they disappeared from the market at 12pm. The price of damaged and low-quality tomatoes was fixed at Rs 65 and a huge rush of customers could be seen there. However, good quality tomatoes were being sold at Rs 100 per kg outside every Sunday bazaar.
Green peas were a special attraction for consumers, but their price was fixed at Rs 125 per kg.
“Earlier, we used to buy a crate at Rs 500. Now, it has gone to Rs 1,000. As a result, price of tomato has gone up as almost 100 percent and that is not our fault,” Muhammad Waheed, a market wholesaler, said.
“Till recently, vegetables were arriving in excess from nearby areas. Now the stock has fallen and they are coming from far areas, adding to transportation charges,” he said.
Talking to Pakistan Today, consumer Muhammad Arshad said he feels no relief in the Sunday Bazaar. “First, important and seasonal commodities are missing in the market. If commodities are available, their quality is low. Where is the relief?” he asked.
Another angry consumer Fatima Bibi said she had failed to find any quality item in the bazaar. I searched for quality fruits and vegetables but failed to find them. “The government should close these bazaars if it does provide relief to the consumers,” she said.
Ramzan Khan, a commission agent at the Badami Bagh Wholesale Market, said fruits and vegetables in the market were available in a limited quantity. “The season of summer fruits and vegetables is over in Punjab now. The supply from India is closed nowadays as well. Now all vegetables and fruits are being brought from Balochistan where there is a limited quantity too and their transportation charges further increase price,” he said.
Market Committee Inspector Muhammad Riaz said the rates of fruits and vegetables had gone up due to the problems in supply. “The supply from nearby areas has reduced. It is a natural factor that whenever new and fresh winter fruits and vegetables arrive, their prices are high. These rates will reduce with the passage of time,” he assured.