JAMMU, Mar 27: Taking undue benefit of the 21-day lockdown as announced by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi in view of COVID-19 outbreak, many vegetable and fruit dealers here are selling goods at exorbitant prices.
A market survey by this reporter revealed that the vegetables and fruits are being sold almost everywhere in the city and its outskirt areas at exorbitant prices.
In Janipur vegetable market, the cauliflower was sold today at Rs 30 to Rs 40 per kg which was around Rs 20 to Rs 30 few days back. Similarly, spinach was sold at Rs 30 per kg which earlier was Rs 15 per kg.
Consumers in different localities alleged that the authorities had given free hand to the unscrupulous traders to loot the consumers during the prevailing situation arisen due to outbreak of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“We have no option than to buy the vegetables at exorbitant rates. What can we do as the vendors refuse to sell them at Government approved rates,” Vishal Sharma, a Janipur resident said.
Vendors were charging Rs 30 more on every kg of carrot and same is the rate of potato which was earlier being sold at Rs 15 per kg.
“It is irony that authorities are taking no action against the profiteers,” Sharma said adding that strict action should be initiated against the violators.
The fruit dealers are also selling the fruits at exorbitant rates and the customers demand strict action against them.
Whether it is apple, orange, grapes, guava or any other fruit, all items are being sold at exorbitant rates, Sunil Kumar, another resident of Janipur Colony said.
The concerned department has turned a blind eye towards it, Kumar added.
Consumers said the Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Department should constitute special market checking teams so that the traders selling goods at exorbitant rates are taken to task.
When asked about the sale of vegetables and fruits on exorbitant rates, the dealers said that they are also getting the goods on exorbitant rates from the hoarders.
“Action against the hoarders is needed to bring down the rates of the goods”, they added.
Director, Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Department Jitender Singh admitted that they can’t conduct market checking as their teams remained pre-occupied with two months ration distribution as ordered by the Government to help out the persons in need.
He said that they will ensure market checking and will take action against the dealers for selling vegetables and fruits on exorbitant rates.