SADLY enough, the rise in the price of kitchen items before and during Ramzan has become a permanent feature. While this is a poor reflection on corrupt elements in the merchant community that easily succumb to evil practices like the hoarding of kitchen items to create an artificial shortage for profiteering purposes, the government on its part cannot escape the blame for not doing enough to crack down on those who are responsible for shortages and high prices. At the end of the day, it is the general public that has to bear the brunt of the government's indifference and the merchants' greed. In this point it is worthwhile mentioning that there has been and abrupt 20 percent hike in the price of food items like meat, sugar, pulses, etc. The situation is so bad that even in Sunday Bazaars where the shopkeepers are meant to follow the official price list, the customers are complaining that they are being over charged. It appears as if the price inspectors and special magistrates are not attending to their job of inspecting the markets. The Punjab government in these times of distress and skyrocketing inflation must take concrete measures to stabilize prices.