–Ramzan bazaars in Punjab fail to meet the needs of people
–People complain about lack of facilities, overpriced items
–Vendors say they’re following government’s instructions
LAHORE: Ramzan bazaars in Lahore have failed to meet the needs of the denizens of the provincial capital as they have to go through excruciating pain to get essential food supplies, Pakistan Today has observed.
While surveying different areas of the metropolis, including Shadman, Township, Dehli Gate, Wahdat Colony, Makkah Colony and Gulshan-e-Ravi, this scribe observed that there were separate counters for essential items such as sugar, potatoes, onions, tomatoes and wheat and only limited supplies were being sold to individuals at one counter. Moreover, the citizens had to wait in line for hours to get supplies and were forced to wait in other lines for other items. On top of that, there were only two counters per item, one for males and the other for females.
This scribe also learnt that fruits sold in Ramzan bazaar were more expensive than usual fruit shops, adding to the woes of the people.
Shaukat Ali, a labourer who was waiting at the wheat counter, told this scribe that he had been standing in the queue for at least three hours while fasting in the hot weather. “This time the arrangements are exceptionally poor. There is one counter for selling wheat and they are telling people to get one kilogram today and come back tomorrow for more,” he said, adding that since he is an old man, he cannot manage to wait for hours every day.
He also said that things were different in the previous Ramzan bazaars and this time the arrangements are rather degrading.
Salima Bibi, a domestic worker, said, “I do not see any difference in the prices of items in Ramzan bazaars and other markets. This time they are managing things very poorly and the quality of the food items has also declined. It appears to me that they are degrading the poor by making them stand in queues during fasting hours in the hot weather and giving them only limited supplies.” She also added that there’s no place for the poor in ‘Naya Pakistan’.
Tehmina Sadiq, another frustrated buyer, said, “It took me forty minutes to buy one kilogram of onions and one kilogram of potatoes. They are not giving us more than that and have been asking us to come tomorrow. We cannot do this every day in this heat. The previous government treated us better.”
Sadaqat Ali, a shopkeeper at the Ramzan bazaar said, “We are selling items on subsidised rates and these prices have been given to us by the government. There is an overall price hike in the country and the people think we are deliberately selling things at higher rates.”
The observations of this scribe are contrary to district administration’s claims of regularly monitoring and checking Ramzan bazaars to facilitate the people.