There is no proper mechanism to keep a check on the prices, giving shopkeepers a free hand to fleece the consumers.
However, the political administration has a programme to set up several price control committees in different tehsils of the agency to check the prices of essentials items only in Ramazan.
During a survey, this scribe found that Dal (pulse) Chana was being sold at Rs140 per kg compared to last week’s Rs100 per kg, Dal Mash Rs180 per kg against 160 per kg, Dal Moong Rs280 per kg against Rs260 per kg, sugar Rs65 per kg against Rs55 per kg, Ghee Rs150 against 140 per kg, best quality rice Rs140-120 per kg against Rs80-100 per kg, gram flour (basin) Rs150 per kg against Rs130 per kg, meat Rs280-260 per kg against Rs250-240 per kg and wheat flour (atta) Rs.810-780- per bag weighing 20kg.
Sirtaj Khan a vegetable vendor in the Agency Headquarter Ghalanai Bazaar told that tomato is being sold at Rs.40 per Kg compared to last week’s Rs.20 per kg, Potato Rs 35 per kg against 25 per kg, Pumpkin 40 per kg against 25, lady finger 140 per kg against 100 and onion 40 per kg against 20 per kg.
“It is a yearly routine before the start of Ramazan, prices of essential food items go up and the locals administration fails to control them,” said Mohib Ali, a local resident in Main Mandi.
He added the prices would go up further in coming days. Mr. Khan said the shopkeepers increased prices by Rs30 on most of the items but as the local administration moved against them, they decreased prices by just Rs5.
A fruit vendor Hamid Ullah in Ekkaghund bazaar said that mango was being sold at 140 per kg compared to last week’s Rs 100 per kg, Iranian Apple at 280 per kg against 180, Quetta Apple 100 per kg against 80 and Water melon per kg 30 against 20.
Haji Rahim Dad, a shopkeeper in Main Mandi Bazaar, said inflation and price hike have made it impossible for common man to run his kitchen. He said because of the ever increasing prices salaried class and the poor suffered the most.
The shopkeepers maintained that prices had been increased in the wholesale market and they were only passing them onto the consumers.
They said sugar was available at Rs55 per kg in the wholesale market and they were selling it at Rs65 per kg.
Salim Khan, a Shopkeeper at Ata Bazaar, said they had to pay ‘taxes’ on different check posts while carrying food items and vegetables from Peshawar, forcing them to sell the commodities on high rates.
An official of the local administration told Dawn the administration will take action against profiteers and hoarders. “Those shopkeepers will be sent to lock up and imposed fine on them, who are selling the vegetables, fruits and other commodities on high prices in different bazaars of the area”.
He said that on the special directives of Political Agent of the area price committees will be set up in each tehsils which will monitors the prices of daily commodities in different bazaars of the area.