Islamabad - The sellers continue to fleece consumers with exorbitant prices in Ramzaan Sasta Bazaars, established to provide food items to the masses at subsidised rates.

Every seller in each bazaar has his own rates of potato, tomato, lemon and spinach. The rates shoot up in the afternoon when buyers throng the markets.

Potato was being sold up to Rs 200 per 5-kg, lemon at Rs 300 per kg, tomato up to Rs 35 per kilogram and the rates of spinach went up to Rs 50 per knot in G-6 Sasta Bazaar.

Low quality local banana, which was being sold at Rs 70 per dozen before Ramazan, was being sold up to Rs 150 per dozen. Mangos were being sold up to Rs 150 per kilogram. The same were sold before Ramazan at Rs 70-80 per kilogram. Peach was available at Rs 150 per kg while better quality peach was sold at Rs 70 before Ramazan.

“You will have to pay the asked price if you want to eat fruit; otherwise don’t waste time,” a shopkeeper was insulting a woman who tried to bargain.

It is humiliating, the prices are almost double as compared to last week, said Shaista begum, a shopper.

Aabpara, where G-6 bazaar is located, houses mostly middle-class and lower-middle class strata of the society. The per month earnings of most of the shoppers is between Rs 20,000 to Rs 50,000 per month. Due to high rates, many shoppers went empty handed or with a few items.

“Expenses increase in Ramazan. I can’t even think of buying anything at these rates. I will come again in the evening and will try to buy leftovers,” Khalid Umer, a government officer in grade-14 said.

Many shoppers lost their temper and started quarrelling with shopkeepers but the latter remained unmoved.

“We bought commodities at high prices and how we can sell them at lower rates? You can go if you don’t have money” was the standard answer of the shopkeepers and many returned while some managed to buy a little. Many complained that quality of the fruits was not up to the mark.

The district management categories fruits as per quality and issues a price list. According to Islamabad Market Committee price list, the per kg rate of potato was fixed at Rs 18, onion Rs 40, ginger Rs 93, garlic Rs 108, garlic (China) Rs 308, lemon Rs 138, lady finger Rs 128, Pumpkin Rs 35, Brinjal Rs 28, Peas Rs 85, Farsh Bean Rs 83, Tanda Walaiti Rs 36, cucumber Rs 20, capsicum Rs 38, green chilli Rs 42, cauliflower Rs 38/22, cabbage Rs 16, bitter gourd Rs 35, spinach Rs 20/15, raddish Rs 20, turnip Rs 34, maroo Rs 20,yam Rs 85, carrot Rs 45, chicken Rs 182 and egg per dozen Rs 72.

Deputy Commissioner Islamabad, Captain (Retd) Mushtaq, when contacted, said that his office was doing utmost to provide items to the people at listed price. He said administration has fined many profiteers and many were sent to jail.