LAHORE - The difference of open market and Sunday Bazaars rates is narrowing because of oversupply of vegetables especially the potatoes, as the rates of almost all items sold in Sunday bazaars are the same as in the open market.

This puts a big question mark on the performance of the government, which had set up these makeshift markets with a view to providing relief to the public.

This week again quality of fruits and vegetables was not good and vendors were selling damaged and substandard vegetables and fruits at higher rates in Sunday bazars. Vegetables and fruit were not sold at the official rates issued by the market committee through a price list.

A visit to the Sunday bazaar revealed that the prices of most fruits and vegetables were the same as in the open market; and even if some items were cheaper, their quality was questionable. Though a few products were available in Sunday bazaars at cheaper rates than in the open market, the majority of commodities were actually being sold at higher prices there.

The prices of lady finger, bitter gourd, potato, tomato, cucumber, cauliflower and onion were almost the same in both Sunday bazaars and the open market. Similarly, tomatoes were available for Rs50 per kilogram in both Sunday bazaars and the open market.

Onions were sold for Rs38-40 per kilogram in Sunday bazaars while their price was Rs40 per kilogram in the open market. However, some products such as ginger and garlic were available at lower prices in Sunday bazaars as compared with the open market. It was also observed that the vendors did not allow the buyers to sort out and pick fruits and vegetables of their choice.

Visitors were of the view that government overlooked the markets’ condition after Ramazan and gave free hand to the vendors to fleece the consumers. Massive overcharging has been recorded in all Sunday Bazaars where several stalls were without vegetables.

Vendors said the rates of majority of vegetables were higher than the rates given in the official price list. Hence, they were not willing to sell those items due to price difference. Due to wrong price fixation vendors were not coming to the weekly markets and rain and floods also affected the supply of vegetables.

Tomato price was fixed at Rs45 but it was being sold at Rs50 per kg openly and no official was interfering. Similarly, cabbage price was fixed at Rs60 per kg but it was being sold at Rs55 per kg outside Sunday Bazaars, while price of cauliflower was fixed at Rs48 and being sold at Rs 60 per kg.

Potato price was further reduced and fixed at Rs15 per kg and the price of onion was also went down and fixed at Rs38 per kg. Prices of Green chilli was fixed at Rs60 per kg but sold at Rs65 per kg. Ladyfinger price was fixed at Rs30 per kg, but not available while biter gourd price was fixed at Rs46 per kg which was also missing at Sunday bazaars.