The current corona virus pandemic and the lock behind it have given fruit vendors a free hand to sell fruits at Ramazan’s own policy. The provincial government, like every year, cannot establish a Ramazan bazaa market in the city, nor is there a fruit boycott campaign in the first few days of the holy month to reduce fruit prices.
Finally Ramazan, the Sindh government has established 25 Ramazan bazaars in six city districts with the help of the district government. The bachat market is intended to ensure the supply of quality commodities at a rate determined by the government during Ramazan. There are seven Bachat bazaars in the Malir district while four in the Western District, three in the South, four in the East and Central districts, and three in Korangi.
People in Karachi boycotted buying fruit for three days to protest the price increase two years ago because the prices were reduced to a certain extent. It was the first of its kind boycotts, initiated through social media without the support of any political parties. The then commissioner, Ejaz Ahmed Khan, and the provincial government also extended their support for this campaign. One Karachi assistant commissioner told The News, on condition of anonymity, that they were so busy in applying locking and ensuring patients of the corona virus who were in their homes in self-isolation remained in their homes so they could not act against profiteers like every year.
Meanwhile, the price department and commissioner office regulations also seem to have failed to implement the price list in the city of Ramazan. Despite huge claims from the provincial and municipal governments, profiteering continues to be uncontrolled in the city market as does every Ramazan. Vegetables and fruit are sold at a price far higher than the price set by the commissioner’s office. On the open market, sellers sell fruit and vegetables at prices almost double the announced price.
The price list of the Karachi commissioners seems to have been violently violated in various city fruit markets, while no fruit seller had the commissioner’s office price list with him or displayed at his kiosk on Saturday.
In Gulsitan-e-Jauhar near Jauhar Chowrangi, fruit prices surged on Saturday. The price of the most sought after fruit during Ramazan, the banana, is out of control. According to the commissioner’s office tariff, the retail price of the first quality banana is Rs88 a dozen and the second quality banana is Rs63 a dozen, whereas, from the wholesale market, according to the commissioner’s list, it is sold at Rs85 per dozen for first quality and Rs60 for second class.
In contrast, in Gulistan-e-Jauhar, there are no first or second class fruits, but only Rs 130 to Rs 150 per dozen bananas sold. When asked about the commissioner’s price list, a fruit seller said that he did not have it. “Nobody followed the list of commissioners, they also couldn’t,” he said, adding that they were getting fruit at very high prices from the wholesale market.
Watermelons are sold at Rs50 to Rs60 per kilogram; however, the commissioner level is Rs33 per kilogram for round watermelons and Rs38 per kilogram for long watermelons. “Nobody can buy fruit, not even the middle class,” murmured an elderly man, Fatima Hussain. “The most the government cannot do during lockouts and pandemics is to keep prices of essential commodities low.”
The woman said that fruits are very important for people her age to keep their vitamin levels high. “But who wants to eat such expensive fruit?” he complained, adding that someone who is poor cannot simply see these fruits.
Another young fruit buyer, who was on his way home from his office, argued with a watermelon seller to lower his price. “This is a very fresh watermelon directly from Punjab,” said the watermelon seller. “No more than Rs40,” the buyer insisted and then the deal closed at Rs50, which is still very high on the list of commissioners.
A similar situation also occurs in North Karachi, where bananas are sold at Rs100 to Rs110 per dozen. A resident of Sector 11-A in North Karachi, Fawad Aslam, told The News how the price of fruits has increased dramatically since the beginning of Ramazan. “Watermelons are sold at Rs50 per kilogram,” he said, adding that for never 15 days Ramazan banana prices were lower than Rs100 per dozen.
Fruits, according to the vice chairman of the wholesale market, Asif Ahmed, are not sold at high prices from the wholesale market. Speaking with The News, he confirmed that first-class bananas from the wholesale market were sold at Rs85 per dozen and that the second-class price was Rs60 per dozen on Saturday.
“Every night there is one member of the commissioner’s office present in the wholesale market who ensures that wholesale prices are applied,” he said.
Meanwhile, Assistant Commissioner Gulzar-e-Hijri Anwar Panhwar, who was mostly present at the wholesale market during the auction, told The News that the fruits came from Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh to the market from where they were auctioned and then transported to the city . After the auction is over, he said, they ensure that the fruits are packaged and sold from the market at the auctioned price.
On Saturday, Panhwar said that they took action at Safoora Chowrangi where fruit sellers violated the commissioner’s office price. “We generally go to the market and if we find out from the buyer that the price of the commissioner’s office is violated, we fine the seller of fruit,” he said, adding that if they sit in camps in certain markets the price remains under control, but that is not possible.
Assistant Commissioner Gulshan-e-Iqbal Ali Gopang told The News that they have taken action against money profiteers every day. On Friday, he said that they sold many fruit sellers from Jauhar Chowrangi to Kamran Chowrangi. Apart from that, he said that some superstores were also fined for violating the commissioner’s price list.
According to the commissioner’s office, a total of 937 fruit sellers have been fined various amounts of Rs4,657,200 in the city since the beginning of Ramazan, which included milk, fruit, vegetables, meat, foodstuffs, poultry sellers and bakers, while there was no one. has been sent to prison.
In the Southern District, 225 violators were handed down with a fine of Rp1,624,000. In the Eastern District, 88 vendors have been fined a total of Rs590,000. In the Western District, 196 vendors have been fined Rs300,500. In the Central District, the highest number of 233 vendors has been fined Rs943,400. In Malir District, 70 profiteers have been fined Rs69,000, and in Korangi District, 125 vendors have been fined Rs1130,300 so far.