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Vegetable, fruit prices go up in Mohmand Agency

GHALANAI: A sharp increase in the prices of essential food items including fruits, vegetables, meat, is being witnessed after the first week of Ramazan in the Mohmand tribal region. 

According to a survey conducted by this reporter here, the prices of daily use items particularly fruits and vegetables have gone up by 30 to 40 per cent in different localities and bazaars of the tribal region.

Local residents of the area have expressed grave concern over sudden price hike and demanded of the authorities concerned to take action against profiteers and hoarders.

“There is no routine and regular mechanism to keep a check on prices, giving shopkeepers a free hand to fleece consumers” a villager said.

It merits to mention here that the political administration has formed several price control committees for different tehsils of the agency to check the prices of essential items in Ramazan.

The committees visited different bazaars and also fined various shopkeepers while many others were also arrested.

As per the survey,  tomato is being sold for Rs.40 per Kg as compared to last week’s Rs.30, potatoes Rs 45 per kg against Rs30, pumpkin for Rs 40 per kg against Rs 25, lady finger Rs 80 per kg against Rs 60 and onion Rs 40 per kg against Rs 30.

Similarly, watermelon is being sold at Rs.30 per kg as compared to last week’s Rs20, mango Rs 150 per kg against Rs130, apricot Rs150 per kg against Rs100, banana Rs100 a dozen against Rs70, and apple Rs220 per kg against Rs180.

“The prices of essential food items go up every year with the advent of the month of fasting and the local administration is unable to control them,” Ali Haider, a local resident of the area, said.

He said that the local administration waived all taxes on all food commodities yet these shopkeepers did not decrease prices of food items.

He added prices would go up further in the coming days. Mr. Ali said shopkeepers increased prices by Rs30 to 20 on almost every item but they just reduced by a paltry amount of Rs5 whenever the administration swung into action against them.

A fruit vendor Bakhtawar Shah in Ekkaghund bazaar said that mango was being sold at Rs160 per kg against last week’s Rs 120, Iranian apple at Rs320 per kg against Rs250, Quetta apple Rs200 per kg against Rs100 and watermelon per kg 50 against Rs25.

Sartaj, a local resident in Main Mandi Bazaar, said inflation and price hike have made it impossible for common man to run his kitchen. He said because of ever increasing prices the salaried class and poor suffered the most.

An official of Mohmand Agency political administration, Muhammad Wasif Saeed, informed that before Ramazan the administration formed price control committees in all eight tehsils of the region to keep a check on profiteering and quality of products during Ramazan.

“Price control bodies would keep rates of items in check and ensure their quality in the local markets” said Saeed.

Each committee would be headed by the Tehsildar concerned and its members would be trade bodies’ representatives, tribal elders and media persons. He said that the administration will take action against profiteers and hoarders.

“Those shopkeepers, who are selling the vegetables, fruits and other commodities on inflated prices in different bazaars of the area will be sent to prison and imposed fines”.

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