Anantnag: The administration here in Kashmir has been able to do nothing to keep a lid on rising prices and the worsening quality of food served on the streets – despite claims that “squads” were let loose in the markets to keep check on both these.
Traffic management is another mess the authorities could have handled better, says the general public aghast at the state of affairs on Eid.
Prices of commodities, especially those in demand for Eid, shot up by more than 20 percent ahead of the festive day. Bakery prices went up all of a sudden and became dearer by 20 to 25 percent in most parts of Kashmir.
“That is a little understandable because the authorities have always been too careless about bakeries. They probably consider bakery products to be a luxury item,” several people that Kashmir Reader talked to said.
The authorities could have, however, prevented the mushrooming of “bakery kiosks”, in the hundreds, which have no safety standards to follow and no one to answer to.
“Most of these kiosks do not even belong to bakery owners. They are just erected on Eid, some money is made, and that is it. These people do not even have to follow any safety standards or for that matter be answerable in case a mishap takes place,” concerned people told Kashmir Reader.
The prices of mutton have, yet again, exposed that the administration has no writ over meat sellers in Kashmir valley. Only last year a several-month deadlock between meat sellers and the administration resulted in the prices of meat getting fixed at Rs 535 per kilogram.
“But it is being sold at 650 rupees at most places and even 700 rupees at some others. No one asks any questions to the meat sellers,” the people lament.
The cost of vegetables, fruits, and other essentials went up as well on the eve of Eid. Kashmir Reader talked to the Director of Food, Civil Supplies, and Consumer Affairs, Dr Abdul Salaam Mir, who insisted that everything was alright. “I was myself checking the markets for the whole day on Sunday. Squads have also been deputed to keep a check on rates and other things,” Mir told Kashmir Reader.
Asked whether these squads were deputed in rural areas as well, where most of the complaints have come from, Mir answered in the affirmative. The squads, however, remain ineffective even if they have been posted as Mir says.
Traffic mess was another issue the general public battled, across Kashmir. Only the Lal Chowk area in Srinagar was a little better managed in terms of traffic, while long snarling queues of honking vehicles could be witnessed in many parts of Kashmir.
“The interesting part is this is when the festivities have remained subdued, and are nowhere near what they used to be pre-pandemic,” the people Kashmir Reader talked to said.