LAHORE – Despite high prices a few days ahead of Eid-ul-Fitr, Lahorites are thronging markets, malls and plazas for shopping to celebrate the religious festival in a befitting manner, a survey conducted by TheNation reveals.

The vast majority of people prefer to do their shopping at markets and bazaars in their vicinity, apparently believing that products here are available at cheaper process than in major markets of the City, such as Liberty Market, Main Market Gulberg, Anarkali Bazaar, Shah Alam Market, Kashmiri Bazaar, Naqi Market, The Mall, Panorama Centre, Link Road Model Town, Moon Market Iqbal Town, Karim Block Market, Icchra Bazaar, Baghbanpura Bazaar and Chah Miran Bazaar.

Most of the shoppers interviewed by this scribe said the shopkeepers of these markets were fleecing the consumers in the name of quality products. They further complained that these shopkeepers were charging a huge profit even on low-quality products.

For instance, the survey shows, a pair of children’s shoes is available in major markets for Rs300-1,500; while it costs just Rs150-700 in local markets and bazaars. Similarly, a pair of shoes (ladies or gents) is available in major markets for Rs1,000-2,500; while it costs just Rs500-1,200 in local markets and bazaars.

The survey further shows that shopkeepers are selling locally-stitched readymade Shalwar Kameez for Rs400-1,000 each; and a shirt and a pair of trousers for Rs500-1,200, while an imported children’s dress is available for Rs1200-3,000.

An men’s outfit – such as Shalwar Kameez or dress shirt with a pair of trousers – is available for Rs2,500-5,000 in major markets; while a cotton short with a pair of jeans for Rs800-4,000.

The shopkeepers dealing in artificial jewellery, the major attraction for girls and women on the occasion of Eid, are selling a locally-made set for Rs700-10,000 and an imported set for Rs2,000-20,000. They are selling single items such as a finger-ring or a pair of earrings for Rs100-1,000 each. A set of plastic bangles is priced Rs200-500 but an intelligent customer can strike a bargain with the shopkeeper in the range of Rs100-300.

The survey reveals that a large number of customers who visited markets and bazaars for Eid shopping returned home empty-handed after window-shopping because of the high prices of readymade garments, shoes, artificial jewellery, bangles and other items.

Some people were also seen buying affordable products, particularly garments and shoes, for only their children.

For this purpose, they preferred to visit stalls at roadsides and on footpaths since the same products were available at cheaper prices here than in markets.

Qamaruzzman, a resident of Chah Miran, said the government neither had a mechanism nor policy regarding control on the prices of different products on the occasion of Eid.

He demanded of the government to urgently focus on this issue, so that the poor could also celebrate this religious festival with respect and dignity like the rich.

Mian Younas, a customer, told this scribe that he bought a shirt and a pair of trousers from the Panorama Centre for Rs1,500 after bargaining with the shopkeeper who was initially demanding Rs2,000 for it. “Such a huge profit margin on garments shows that these shopkeepers are fleecing the masses,” he added.

Another customer named Imran accused the shopkeepers dealing in children’s garments of deceiving the shoppers in the name of ‘Eid Sale’.