As the Srinagar-Jammu highway, the only road connecting Kashmir with the rest of the country continues to remain closed from the last couple of days, black-marketing is at its peak with people alleging that prices of essential commodities have gone skyrocketing across Srinagar.
According to a local news agency, Kashmir News Observer (KNO), consumers from different parts of the Valley here have complained of skyrocketing prices of essentials including vegetables, saying that the sellers are selling the stuff as per their will.
They said it seems that the sellers have been given free hand to loot the masses as per their will as no action is visibly being taken against the norm violators (sellers).
Altaf Ahmad, a local consumer from Rawalpora said that the vegetable dealers in Mandi should be dealt with strictly as they use to keep the foodstuff hidden always especially when the only road remains closed for the traffic.
“The street vendors have nothing to do with the soaring prices of essentials as they are receiving the stuff at exorbitant rates from the respective Mandis,” Ahmad said, adding that it is unfortunate that the prices of essentials including vegetables vary from place to place.
“We are getting meat at the cost of Rs 480 per kg in Lal Chowk areas while in Rawalpora, it is being sold at Rs 600 per kg,” he said, adding that Kale (Haakh) is being sold at Rs 100 while Onion, Tomatoes, and Peas also are being sold at exorbitant rates everywhere.
Street vendors when asked about the exorbitant rates said that they are getting the stuff at exorbitant rates from Mandis and they keep the stuff hidden and later sell the stuff at exorbitant rates among them due to which the people are facing immense hardships.
Besides, the complaints of shortage of gas also poured in from many areas, but the officials claimed that there is adequate stock available and there was no need to panic.
Earlier on 5 January, Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir P K Pole had ordered strict market checking after the highway was closed for traffic in wake of heavy snowfall.
“All the concerned/Line Departments shall conduct extensive market checking to crack the whip on the persons indulging in overcharging/black-marketing, profiteering, etc.” the order had said.
It stated that the concerned Tehsildar & TSO shall make surprise visits and ensure implementation of these directions and report through the concerned Deputy Commissioner accordingly.
Meanwhile, Director, Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs (FCS&CA) Bashir Ahmed Khan told KNO that there are clear directions from the administration to ensure proper market checking and the men from the department have already been pressed for the job.
“We have booked many norm violators so far and seized shops of many as well. Similarly, today, we have seized four shops in Srinagar areas and also lodged four First Investigation Reports against the norm violators,” he informed.
He also added that the checking will be intensified further and all those involved in norm violation will have to face the law.