LAHORE - The absolute dependence on import, inadequate harvests owing to erratic weather and hoarding by middlemen have sent pulses prices skyrocketing during last few weeks.

Moreover, prices of almost all kinds of essential daily use items, including tea, vegetables, fruits and other groceries, registered a manifold increase in open market, with the provincial government showing its failure to prevail the writ, as official price list is being implemented nowhere in retail bazaars of the provincial capital.

Rate of gram pulse has crossed to Rs120 per kg against official rate of Rs98 per kg; mash is selling at Rs260 per kg against official rate of Rs194; mash unwashed is selling at Rs230 per kg against official rate of Rs166; masoor is selling at Rs200 per kg against official price of Rs144 per kg, moong is selling at Rs160 per kg against per kg against official price of Rs120 per kg’ gram black as well as white are being sold in the range of Rs110-115 versus government notified price of Rs96-98.

According to market sources, comparatively, the increase in masoor lentil price has been more modest, to Rs230 from Rs166 in the wholesale market.

In retail market, high quality rice is being sold at Rs130 while low quality at Rs 90 per kg, while broken rice is available at Rs70 per kg. Sugar is being sold at Rs65 per kg, Beisan at Rs115 per/kg against the official price of Rs102 per kg. Similarly, a drop has been witnessed in several fruit items in the wholesale and retail markets. Banana is being sold at Rs40-70 per dozen, and apple at Rs60-130 per/kg. Grape is available at Rs120-180 per kg.

However, vegetable prices have gone up like tomato is being sold at Rs40 per kilogram, which was available at Rs30 few weeks ago, while the rate of ginger has also increased to Rs250 per kilogram, and garlic available is at Rs 260 per kilogram, against Rs 120 per kg. High quality onion is available at Rs60/kg, which was selling at Rs35/kg during last weeks. Green chilly is being sold at Rs100 per kilogram against Rs60 per kg.

The price of cauliflower increased to Rs80 per kilogram against Rs40 per kg, ladyfinger to Rs70 per kg from Rs60 per kg. The shimla mirch was selling at Rs160 per kg, cabbage at Rs70 per kg, peas at Rs240 per kg, Arvi at Rs80 per kg, cauliflower at Rs70 per kg, brinjal at Rs40 per kg, bitter gourd at Rs80 per kg, and Turnip at Rs6040 per kg. Cucumber is available at Rs60 per kg, and lemon is sold at Rs 140 per kg.

Regarding high prices of pulses, experts said that Pakistan has been depending on import of pulses like several other things. And presently, the international prices of lentils are on high trend. They said that other reason is that gram production has also dropped to around 50,000 ton against total consumption of 600,000 ton. Only 12,000 ton masoor was being produced against a consumption of 50,000 ton. In the same way, mash production is only 9,000 ton, whereas consumption is 50,000 ton. They said that moong production is about 98,000 ton against requirement of about 100,000 ton.

Shoppers are of the view that the price magistrates, who are responsible to keep vigilant on prices were not seen anywhere in any retail market and this apathetic behaviour of them was also leading to escalate prices of edibles. They said that they have not seen any ease in prices of kitchen items despite reduction in inflation as claimed by the government. In the absence of any price control mechanism from wholesale market to end users, an item is sold at different rates. The seller sells it with a price of his own will while the stockist also sell an item at different rates to different buyers.–Salman Abduhu