Srinagar, Feb 7: Mohammad Shafi, a resident of Srinagar, seems confused as he wanders from one vendor to another, attempting to purchase vegetables along the stretch from Amira Kadal to Lal Ded Hospital road.
The reason for the confusion, according to Shafi, is the disparity in prices among grocers within a radius of no more than 200 meters.
“I have checked the rates of each vendor, and they are all selling vegetables at different prices,” Shafi said. “At Amira Kadal grocers sell onions for Rs 40, capsicums for Rs 120 and tomatoes for Rs 70 per kilogram,” he said, adding that the prices set by vegetable vendors differ from those found at Maharaja Bazar and LD Hospital Road.
“There is no fixed pricing on vegetables. Rates fluctuate by 50 to 100 percent between markets located within a stone’s throw of each other,” Shafi said, adding, “The government seems to be inactive. There is rampant exploitation happening in the market.” He said it was becoming difficult for the common man to purchase essential commodities from the market.
Sania Nabi, another consumer, said she was surprised at seeing radishes being sold at Rs 40 by one greengrocer and Rs 80 by another.
“This is utter madness. How can we tolerate such blatant price discrepancies at the same location?” she said. “I didn’t purchase the vegetables I was planning to buy.”
Abdul Rashid War, Director of Food Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs (FCS&CA), said he is not authorised to set or regulate prices.
“Since the implementation of the National Food Security Act (NFSA), pricing has been assigned to the ones who sell the products in the market. There is no order that empowers us to set prices as it is contingent upon market dynamics,” War said.
“Consumers should buy vegetables where they find lower rates,” he added.