Srinagar: The frequent closure of Srinagar-Jammu highway has lead to shortage of essential commodities in the valley with escalated prices of many essentials including vegetables and fruits.
Residents in Srinagar said that prices of potatoes, tomato, pea, cauliflower, and onion have increased by almost 40 percent. Ghulam Muhammad, a Srinagar resident, purchased tomatoes for Rs 50 per kg on Thursday.
“Last week I purchased tomatoes from Darish Kadal at Rs 30 per kg, and today I purchased them for Rs50. Shopkeepers are taking advantage of highway closure and increase rates on their own,” Mohammad said.
He said there has been a tremendous increase in rates from past two days, and that the concerned authorities have failed to check the markets.
“We are in need, we have to buy, what else can we do,” he remarked.
Muzaffar Ahmad, another local said, they usually buy a tray of eggs (30 eggs) for 150 rupees, but a day before he had to buy it for Rs 175.
“There are no rate lists with the vegetable sellers. They have also hiked the prices of locally grown vegetables like nadru, turnip, radish etc while the administrations are passing the buck,” Muzaffar said.
Locals also blame the price hike on lack of government checking.
“Fruit sellers are also taking advantage of the highway closure. Oranges, which used to sell at 100 to 120 per dozen, yesterday I bought at 180 rupees,” said Owais Farooq, another resident.
Vegetables sellers from Batamaloo, Darish Kadal, and Lal Chowk told Kashmir Reader that because of rains and snowfall, the supply of vegetables has abruptly decreased causing a price spike.
“We usually take fruits from the Parimpora fruit mandi but vegetable merchants have increased the rates from 15 to 20%.We are forced to sell the vegetable at higher prices to recover our costs. What can we do, we too have to earn ,” a vendor said.
Director Food Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs (FCS&CA) department Kashmir Mohammad Qasim Wani told Kashmir Reader that their enforcement teams were already checking the markets.
“We need cooperation from the public. The consumers should come forward or they can simply call us and identify the place. We will take strict actions against them.”