Residents demand Ramazan bazaars in capital

ISLAMABAD: The continued price hike and absence of Sasta Ramazan Bazaars in the capital irks the residents of Islamabad who urged the authorities to set up such a bazaar to supply subsidised daily use items to the working classes.The decision by the local administration of federal capital for not setting up Sasta Bazaar during this Ramazan has left thousands of people at the mercy of traders in the market, who exploit consumers in the holy month.The capital Development authority used to set up such bazaar in Islamabad during Ramazan. “We have no idea why G-7/2 bazaar had not been set up during current Ramazan for the benefit of low income groups of the society, Mohammad Akhtar a government employee told APP.Like Akhtar, a large number of citizens visited the site of Sasta Bazaar, only to get disappointment on seeing the site of the bazaar deserted. “I have seen hundreds of visitors who came to purchase from the bazaars, but left after seeing lack of interest by the district government,” said Mohammad Akhtar.“I came from zero point to purchase fruit for Iftar, but there is no bazaar this year,” said Sohail Ahmed This bazaar used to provide people with essential food items including fruit, vegetables, ghee, pulses and flour at subsidized rates. This bazaar was first set up in 1996 on Hockey Ground. Later, the government transferred it to Lal Quarters, and then in 2006, it was moved to G-7/2. Food Department, Islamabad Capital Territory, however, has set up 2 ‘Sasta Bazaars’ in rural areas of Islamabad, which have started functioning from the 1st of Ramazan in order to provide essential commodities to the consumers at the lower rates during Ramazan. The ‘Sasta Bazaars’ had been set up at Bhara Kahu and Pakistan Town. On the other hand, the vendors who used to set up stalls in the bazaar said the district administration did not establish this bazaar on the pretext of security issues. Mohammad Akram, a vendor, said the administration told the vendors that due to security reasons, the bazaar will not be set up this year.“We pleaded them to take extra charges from us to hire private security guards, but they did not pay any heed to our requests,” he said. General Secretary Weekly Bazaars Union Raja Khalid said the vendors tried their best to convince the administrations not to cancel this bazaar, which used to provide relief to at least 0.3 million consumers during Ramazan, but they did not give any attention to us, he said. “It is astonishing that the administration is not setting up the bazaar on the pretext of security. If security was an issue then why are other weekly bazaars operating in the city,” he questioned and added that if there was a serious threat, extra security measures should have been adopted for the bazaar. Another vendor, Rahim Elahi said: “If there was a security issue, then the bazaar’s location could have been changed. However, the cancellation of the bazaar is beyond my comprehension,” he said.On the other hand, in the open market, prices of vegetables and fruit saw a significant increase. During a survey of various markets, it was observed that on first Ramazan, average-sized bananas were being sold at Rs200 to Rs240 per dozen.Tomatoes witnessed an increase of Rs20 per kg and are now being sold for Rs60 per kg. Golden apples were being sold at Rs220, while cabbage was available at Rs60 Mangoes were being sold for Rs150 per kg similarly peach was priced at Rs200. 

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