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Artificial Price Hike: Lahore Overwhelmed with Soaring Prices of Vegetables & Essential Commodities

Citizens are alarmed by artificial price hikes and soaring rates of seasonal vegetables and essential food staples, particularly in tomatoes and onions. People are blaming the inefficiency on part of the district and provincial authorities for failing to undermine the profiteering tactics of local vendors and traders.

Price hike

Lahore is witnessing an alarming increase in the prices of basic necessities, particularly vegetables. The absence of a vigilant and efficient price control policy has led to persistent rise in prices, and surveys of the model bazaars and marketplaces reveal that local vendors are raising the prices of nearly all the seasonal vegetables, with the involvement of market committee officials.

Vegetable Prices Rise Alarmingly

Prices of vegetables have witnessed an unprecedented rise in all the marketplaces across Lahore. Tomatoes, one of the most important food staples in the Pakistani cuisine, are presently being sold at the rate of Rs300-350 per Kg, while the government has allocated the price of tomatoes at Rs200-210 per kg, and Rs190-200 at Sunday bazaars.

Onions, another essential ingredient, are being sold for over Rs130 per kg across retail markets, while the government has set its price between Rs64 and Rs76 per kg. Moreover, multiple citizens have come forward to complain that local vendors are selling mixed variations of onions at Sunday bazaars, and they continue to charge the price allocated for the sorted variety.

Media reports every day have stories highlighting complaints of housewives and other citizens over the unstable economic situation, as many people have lost their jobs and are facing a reduction in their income. Grievances of the citizens are piling up and the artificial hike in price needs to be curbed by establishing strict measures to regulate the prices imposed by greengrocers and traders.

Prices of seasonal vegetables have risen alarmingly high, so much so that people have to think twice before compiling their grocery lists. People in Lahore are increasingly disappointed by the price control system introduced by the district government. The prevailing belief amongst citizens is that the officials have no authority to undermine shopkeepers and traders who are responsible for the artificial price hike.

Punjab Govt’s Measures

Reports reveal that an official of the Punjab agriculture department stated that the new tomato crop will arrive next month from Sindh, which will aid in reducing the prices of tomatoes. He stated that the prices have increased due to the limited supply of tomatoes in the market.

The Lahore Deputy Commissioner has ordered all major departmental stores to reduce the prices for fruits and vegetables in line with the prices issued by the government.

Read more: 17 Rs Kilo Tomato: What Pakistan are You Living in Abdul Hafeez Sheikh?

The district administration revealed its decision to close down the deputy commissioner’s counter across all departmental stores and enforce the notified prices across all stores and retail outlets. The deputy commissioner’s office also issued a stern warning to all department stores regarding their failure to comply with the notified prices or provide customers with low-quality vegetables and fruits.

Chief Minister Punjab Usman Buzdar also took notice of the artificial price hike in various cities across Punjab, and ordered the Price Control Task Force to take immediate measures to normalize the prices of food essentials, particularly seasonal vegetables and fruits.

Chief Minister Punjab also ordered the authorities to establish a provincial price control authority, which will be established on the structure of the Punjab Food Authority (PFA). CM Usman Buzdar has directed the relevant authorities to devise an efficient mechanism to drive down inflation, while the district administration has been directed to strictly monitor the prices of basic commodities.

He has also directed the price control magistrates to efficiently perform their duties, and ensure that the rate lists are displayed on locations where they are easily spotted by customers. The Chief Minister has ordered the elimination of middlemen from agricultural marketplaces to reduce the culture of profiteering.

Read more: Artificial Price Hike: CM Buzdar Orders Strict Action to Curb illegal Prices

The government of Punjab had previously announced its decision to set up farmers markets at a district level, alongside providing a home delivery service for fruits and vegetables across five big cities, including Lahore, Faisalabad, Gujranwala, Rawalpindi, and Multan.

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