Anantnag: To curb the menace of black marketing amid the lockdown imposed to curb spread of Covid, a dozen Masjid committees in Anantnag town have come together and formed a committee, the first of its kind in the south Kashmir district.
There have been widespread reports of rising prices, amid the lockdown, even as earnings in most households of Kashmir valley have been dismal or non-existent. In Anantnag town as well, such complaints have been piling up, following which the committee has been formed.
The “Samaaj Behbood Committee” has been formed by Masjid committees of about a dozen localities in old town Anantnag, including of Kadipora, Sarnal, Mohalla Shaksaaz, Gajnag, Lazibal, Mattan Chowk and other localities.
Kashmir Reader talked to the President of the newly formed committee, Abdul Rashid Bhat, who said that the committee was formed on the insistence of residents in the area.
“The deadlock between butchers and the government ended but the rates never went down. A day prior to Eid, mutton was being sold at 900 rupees per kilogram. The administration kept asking for complaints but the question was, who will bell the cat?” Bhat told Kashmir Reader.
Besides, he said, complaints about bakers and general stores kept pouring in of fleecing the customers with exaggerated rates of essentials like cooking oil and bread.
“And all this at a time when the earnings of people had gone down considerably. There are people, I know of, who do not earn anything these days,” Bhat said, adding that the formation of such a committee was the need of the hour.
Bhat and others are now talking to wholesalers, retailers, butchers, bakers and others in their area to sensitise them about the present situation and make them understand what people, as a community, are going through.
“More and more people are joining in and several other masjid committees have come forward to be part of this initiative. We hope we are able to make a difference,” Bhat told Kashmir Reader.
Masjids in Kashmir have been playing an active role in the fight against the pandemic and the subsequent fallout. Dozens of Masjids, across Kashmir, have been using their money to procure oxygen cylinders and concentrators for people in need.
With this new initiative in Anantnag, expectations among people have gone further and they want the Masjid committees to solve the problem of black marketing.
“I have put the proposal in our Masjid to get such a committee formed so that we, in our area, can keep a tab on hoarding as well as on black marketing,” Javed Ahmad, a resident of Bijbehara town, told Kashmir Reader.
How much of a difference these committees are going to make on the ground remains to be seen.