Shopkeepers have significantly increased the prices of fruit and vegetables as compared to the rates in the previous week in Sialkot district.

Meanwhile, District Food Controller Faisal Sharif has sealed a local flour mills for supplying substandard flour to the Ramazan bazaar at Sialkot. He took the action on the mounted complaints. He also cancelled the license of the flour mills and fined Rs30,000.

The prices of most of the vegetables including potato, onion, ginger, garlic, ladyfinger, cauliflower, black pepper, green chili, lemon and cabbage have increased manifold. Grapes are being sold at Rs800 per kg while peach, apricot and plum are available at Rs200 to Rs240 per kg. On the other side, lemon is being sold from Rs125 to Rs156 per kg. Similarly, the prices of apple, banana, mango, melon and other fruit have also increased.

The people were of the view that rates were especially increased during Ramazan. They revealed that the stallholders also increased prices during the first week of Ramazan as well.

The people including Sakeena, Ghulam Hussain, Muhammad Aslam, Dilawar Hussain, Muhammad Imran, Waqas Zafar, Rana Arshad Ali, Farooq Ahmed, Nasir Ali, Muhammad Anwar Bhatti, Ameen Raza and Ghulam Mustafa said that the price hike has made it impossible for the common man to run his kitchen. The shopkeepers, however, said that they had nothing to do with price hike, contending the prices had increased in the wholesale market. According to the market rates, dates are available at Rs300 to Rs360 per kg while chicken was being sold at around Rs230-250. Baisan is regularly used in Ramazan for making “Pakoras” for Iftar. So its prices are around Rs100 a kilogram. Yogurt is being sold at Rs90 per kg while a liter of milk costs Rs85 per litre.

The district administration has established eight Ramazan bazaars for 4 million population of Sialkot district for providing the edibles and other daily-use commodities at cheaper rates.

Meanwhile, the district administration has claimed that the rates of food items at Ramazan bazaars and fair prices shops were lower than the local markets. The administration has directed all the stallholders and shopkeepers to display rate lists. Sialkot DCO Iftikhar Ali Sahu has directed the officials concerned to take stern action against hoarders and profiteers.

He said that the people should register their complaints against those creating artificial shortage of commodities to gain more profit, adding that the hoarders would be dealt with iron hand.