LAHORE - As mercury levels went down trading of various winter related products came up around the provincial capital of Punjab.

Prices of secondhand warm cloths, room heaters and water geysers have rocketed exposing the efficiency of price controlling mechanism, a survey conducted by The Nation revealed.

Shopkeepers dealing in electric goods feel the sudden decease in temperature is responsible for the hike in purchasing of electronic room heaters and water geysers. Purchase of heaters and geysers are still on rise, even at unaffordable prices.

Manufacturers said that the trend to buy such winter commodities was decreasing rapidly due to lack of interest of people and high prices of such products.

But, they are manufacturing these products in abundance despite less demand in the market as compare to previous years.

A manufacturer Muhammad Saleem, told this scribe that the manufacturers compelled to increase prices of these goods due to unusual raise in raw material prices and recent raise in petroleum goods. He said that prices of almost all the metal items (iron, silver, brass and copper) increased by 10 to 20 per cent as compared to previous year which forced them to increase the rates of these products.

He said that increase in oil prices also forced manufactures to increase prices. He said that prices of heaters and geysers increased 5 per cent in only three months from October 2010 to January 2011.

He said that traders, dealing in raw material increase prices even before the beginning of winter season, which is the main reason of increasing prices.

Saleem said that manufacturing cost also increased due to hike in electricity and gas tariffs along with the factory expenditures and wages, which had almost doubled.

He said that a vast range of winter items including locally manufactured heaters, geysers and cooking items which are not only expensive but also durable as compare to the products imported from China which are available in abundance but on very cheap rates.

Saleem said that initially, prices of locally manufactured room heaters started from Rs350 to about Rs80,000 which now start from Rs375 to Rs88,000 after the change in weather.

However, an average quality electric/gas heater is available from Rs5,000 to Rs7,000, while an average quality gas and electric geyser price start from Rs 8,000 to 11,000, prices of branded geysers manufactured by reputed companies start from Rs15,000 to Rs25,000 this season, which are higher about 10 to 20 per cent compared to previous year.

Riaz, a trader of electric goods in an electronics goods market Abid Market said that tendency to purchase winter items had decreased as compare to previous winter season.

On the other hand, the business of secondhand warm clothes is also on rise after the sudden temperature change in weather as people rush to 'Landa Bazaars for buying second hand clothes.

A survey of Landa bazaars of the city conducted by The Nation on Thursday revealed that the number of buyers is increasing rapidly in the City.

Saleem, a salesman at a garments shop says that the business of new warm clothes and winter garments is still not picking up as citizens of low income group are reluctant to purchase costly clothes, while the well-off have also lowered its interest over the last few years due to the price hike factor.

He said the business of newly-stitched garments went through considerable decrease. He informed this scribe that an average quality woolen clothes including trousers, shirts, sweeter and jackets are available on Rs800 to Rs3000 while other price of high quality clothes are unreachable. The low prices of secondhand garments attract the lower income section of the City, said Ijaz, a merchant of Landa Bazaar.

He said there was a difference between prices of new clothes and used. He says the imported clothes in Landa Market have a lot of variety and vary in prices falling within the reach of common.

He said that price of garments of different kind range between Rs10 to Rs5,000 according to their quality, condition, material and stitching.

A buyer Saeed complained about the price hike in secondhand clothes.

Giving account of prices of various stuff, he said that socks which were available at Rs5 to Rs15 are available at Rs15 to Rs50, while sweaters are available from Rs100 to Rs1500, jackets Rs300 to Rs2000, shirts from Rs100 to Rs500 and cost Rs200 to Rs3,000. He commented that prices of such second hand clothes also have doubled as compare to the previous years.

However, a trader Vicky Khan believes that the reason behind the increasing prices is the uncertain law and order situation in the country.

“We are doing business for money to feed our families and in such prevailing circumstances we are forced to increase prices in order to meet expenditures,” he said adding that the winter season is in fact their business season for which they wait for the entire year.