Kashmir Indepth

In times of Covid-19 scare, vendors in Kashmir allegedly resort to open-loot

‘Vegetables, fruit sold at much higher rates than one fixed by Govt, people fuming, market checking suqads nowhere insight’

Ishtiyaq Ahmed

Srinagar, March 23: At a time when government has pulled up its socks to prevent the spread of  pandemic Covid-19 in Jammu and Kashmir Union Territory (UT), amid lockdown, Kashmir markets on Monday allegedly witnessed an “open loot” by the black-markets leaving the gullible people fuming.

People here in the Srinagar city alleged that vegetable sellers, fruit and street vendors resorted to open black-marketing by selling vegetables at the prices of their choice even as many mutton and poultry sellers were also found selling mutton and poultry much higher rates than the one fixed by the government.

According to Kashmir Indepth News Service (KINS), despite lockdown, many people on two-wheelers, on foot and even on vehicles travelled to many markets in Srinagar to buy vegetables, fruit, mutton and poultry besides other daily use items. However, they found that black-marketing was at its peak.

“I went to buy some vegetables found that Tomatoes were sold at Rs 60 per kg, Onion at Rs 50 , cabbage and Raddish each 50, while as spinach and Nolchol was being sold at Rs 80 each. Isn’t this an open loot,” said Abid Rashid, a resident of Pantha Chowk, Srinagar. 

Many people echoed similar views and stated that there is no check by the government as the street vendors and vegetable sellers are selling things at their own choice.

“Look at the mutton dealers; they are selling meat at the rate of Rs 550 per kg while as government rate is Rs 450 only. One dozen bananas are sold at Rs 120 and Oranges at Rs 200 per dozen,” said Gulshan Ara, a customer, who had reached Batamaloo to buy fruit for her children.

Similarly, many people complained of the shortage of LPG gas alleging that the dealers were selling cylinders in black market against the rate of Rs 1200 per cylinder leaving the genuine consumers in a state of frustration.

The black-marketing has peaked in Kashmir at a time when people are in tight grip of panic and fear due to the pandemic Covid-19 that has left the entire world by a storm.

Ghulam Muhammad Khan, an elderly street vendor said that he has a family to feed and the lockdown will leave him and his family starved. “I have kept less profit for fruit and vegetables while others are selling the same items at much higher rates. God is watching everything, if we won’t change ourselves at this time of crisis, we will never change then,” said white-bearded Khan with wrinkles on his face visible.

He said there should have been special teams to check how vendors are fleecing people but none is visible on ground.(KINS)

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