Visiting various bazaars and markets, in the provincial metropolis Peshawar it was observed that hoarders and profiteers especially that of chicken and meat dealers have started exploiting customers with both hands whereas the government machinery has no say. In the Nauthia Phatak, Ramdas Bazaar, Kohat Road and Custom Chowk Nawan Kali, it was observed that people were taking less interest in buying chicken and meat products due to its soaring prices.
The prices of chicken poultry and meat in these bazaars were as chicken alive Rs200 to 230 and 270 to 300 per kilogram respectively against the officially fixed prices of Rs160 and Rs230 per Kg, whereas mutton was being sold at Rs450 to 550 per Kg at different sell points, in the open market.
One Nordaraz Khan, a government employee while buying commodities at Nauthia bazaar said that chicken and meat is now beyond the approach of middle class people due to its soaring prices. He said that he used to buy chicken poultry once in a weak but now in his limited income it is difficult to afford even once in a month due to its high prices.
He termed the district administration responsible for the unchecked and self-wished prices fixed by poultry main dealers and big shopkeepers.
He also alleged that most of the officials of the district administration have their ‘behind the curtain’ contacts, as these officials takes daily from almost all main dealers and venders.
While the small vendors were pretending excessive load shedding and time and again increase in petroleum products, as reason behind the high prices. Some of them were also alleging that despite the ban of export to neighboring Afghanistan, unchecked illegal smuggling is still going on. They also said that hoarding of chicken and meat by its main dealers in markets also is a reason behind the high prices.
Experts have attributed the increase mainly due to time and again increase in electricity tariff and petroleum products prices that led to the spiral of inflation. The electricity rates were increased by around 16 percent on May 16, upto 15 percent in June while almost the same ration was maintained in July and August that brought quite visible impact in prices of almost all the commodity items, said Sardar Khan an ex-employee of the Federal Statistical Bureau.
The authorities concerned have turned deaf ears towards the price rocketing of daily commodities items, the faithful complains, adding illegal hoarding and profiteering by certain gangs with the connivance of certain high-ups in the relevant departments create artificial shortage in the market and take advantage of that to exploit the customers with both hands. No body is there to listen the hardships of the already deprived segment of society, whether they have right to live or not, an elderly woman lamented.
To take viewpoint of the concerned district authorities in this connection, the Assistant Coordinator Officer (ACO) Peshawar Zafar Ali Shah replied in a customary words that they had remained active in the entire holy month of Ramadan to keep close check on prices, and took stern action against hoarders and profiteers.
When asked about the recent decision of the apex court to ensure supply of commodities to tribal areas and in local markets and maintain prices, he said that they were set-up joint special check posts at various points in the adjacent tribal agencies. We were tried to ensure sufficient supply to FATA and in settled areas, he maintained.