Shopkeepers fleecing garments buyers

KARACHI - Consumer rights of the citizens have been violated as the profiteers have earned billions of rupees just in one month of Ramazan. Unfortunately, the real picture is quite contrary to the commitments at local and national levels. The consumer rights have always been taken for granted at all levels, a survey conducted by The Nation on Saturday. As Eidul Fitr is about to come, the profiteers have tactfully manoeuvred and increase the prices of daily household commodities while Eid-related things such as readymade garments, dresses and footwear have crossed the buying capacity of lower and middle class. Unfortunately, it has been widely trumpeted that the peoples representatives at the grass root level should be conferred upon special magisterial powers while those in the capacity of deputy district officers (Revenue) with special magisterial powers have failed to cater to citizens as regards to respecting their right for justified bargain. It is also a misery that these magistrates and the local and district governments representatives at the grass root level could not ensure sale of commodities at rational rates. There is a deep vacuum in the system that these magistrates do not present in the market to monitor profiteering. Meanwhile, prices of certain daily-use household groceries such as hot spices have increased and on the other hand, transport fares, sale of adulterated edible goods and bakery and restaurant food do not come under any government authority because they are spared of any such actions. It is a sad anomaly that at one hand, the citizens have no choice except to pay the extravagant utility bills amid loadshedding during Iftar and Sehar hours and every two hours in 24-hours cycle, on the other hand they have to be humiliated when lining up outside the banks for paying their utility bills. The situation at petrol pumps is not different anyway. Offending behaviour of the workers at pumps disgraces commuters. It is a routine scene that out of four to six petrol filling pumps, two or more are shut continuously while the pumps are closed for half an hour at the time of dawn. Several petrol pumps in City have deteriorated machines and commuters getting 30 paisas less fuel on the pretext that the machine was not in order. Thus the owners of such petrol pumps are extorting thousands of rupees daily. Recent hike in fuel prices before Eid have created a friendly atmosphere for the transporters to increase transport fares for both categories of the transporters, intercity and intracity. Particularly, increase in transport fares of intra-city transport is devastating as around two million citizens that hail from Punjab and other parts of the country visit their hometowns to celebrate Eid with their families and relatives. Auto rickshaws and cabs have also join the queue of charging high fares and the police do not show any interest in these major violations. Citizens have criticised the role of local and provincial government departments concerned and have demanded that governments should also pay due attention on these profiteers because only vegetables, fruits, spices and beef do not constitute complete picture of necessities of life but clothes, garments, shoes and transport fares also contribute their due share in ones life. Citizens have also refuted claims appeared in media that actions against profiteers were successful as they said that flour and sugar prices and availability of these simple routine items is a test case as yet. They have demanded that government should immediately initiate monitoring process of prices and controlling mechanism and rate of profit should also be fixed on all goods consumed by people.

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