Traders blame ‘faulty fixation’ system
Srinagar: Random and fluctuating rates of essential commodities in the market are a perpetual concern for the people.
Despite a government fixed rate list, prices are determined by the traders with hardly any impact of random implementation of government prices though market checking.
On their part, traders, however, blame the “faulty system” of price fixation for the perennial problem.
President of the All Kashmir Wholesale Mutton Dealers’ Association, Manzoor Ahmad told Kashmir Reader that the state government fixed market rates “stayed for years” though the market rates alter as per the principle of supply and demand. “Following a hue and cry on mutton rates, the government last year issued a rate list that we have to follow even today. No change took place in the rate list even as the market fluctuated. What can we do when we purchase mutton from a wholesaler at rates more than the government approved ones? It is natural to hike it,” Ahmad said.
“If the government would alter the rates as per the market, there would be no issue. This can sometimes bring the rates down as well. I have been regularly pitching before the government to review the rates after three months but the suggestion was never adopted,” he added.
Mutton rates have gone up by 300 percent in last one decade in the Valley. In 2003, mutton was sold at Rs 110 against current price of Rs 400 per kg. The sudden escalation started in July 2009. Today the government approved mutton rate in Rs 400, but at many places, it is sold at Rs 450 per kg. Last time the rate was Rs 360 per kilogram.
Similarly rates of vegetables, fruits, pulses are being revised after a gap of one month when the rates fluctuate on daily basis. Last time the government issued the rate list on December 30, 2016, which fixed onion at Rs 18 per kilo, tomato at Rs 20 and lemon at Rs 40 per kilogram. The rates list is observed in market more in breach.
“I get lemon at Rs 120 per kg, tomato at Rs 20, onions between Rs 15 and 18. How can I sell the stuff on government approved rates,” asked Aijaz Ahmad, a vendor at busy Kukar Bazar in city central Lal Chowk.
Deputy Director, Consumer Affairs Mohammad Aslam told Kashmir Reader that reviewing rates on daily basis was not possible for the department.
“We first have to research, gather the data and then analyze it. We fix the rates in a price fixation committee which has members from trader community as well. It is then mutually decided what rates should go in the market. These rate lists are later published as well,” he said.