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    Wednesday, May 31, 2017

    Ramazan bazaars in Multan and other parts of S.Punjab a far cry from govt claims of quality

    Mismanagement, eyewash or perhaps corruption are the reported hallmarks of majority of Ramazan bazaars across the province,Particularly in Multan eliciting complaints of under-weighing, overcharging and low quality of eatables.
    And while the government is concentrating on providing “quality eatables at affordable rates” to people in Ramazan bazaars, it appears to have given a carte blanche to the open market to charge at will. As a result, rates of all good, eatable items particularly vegetables and fruit are skyrocketing without let or hindrance. The prices in Ramazan bazaars are lower than in the open market, but the quality of items there is low.
    That the Ramazan bazaars are not delivering as per claims of the provincial government has been confirmed by an independent assessment of around 108 such bazaars across the province by a provincial government agency.
    Official sources said on Wednesday that these bazaars were checked randomly on the first two days of Ramazan and reports stated that they were offering substandard fruits and other items such as beef and mutton.
    Meat and mutton were being sold at controlled rates, but their poor quality perturbed buyers in big cities. There were also complaints of low weighing of these two items as well as fruit.
    Sources said that in big cities and important Ramazan bazaars, quality products were brought (read displayed) in the morning but vanished as the day progressed. The end destination could either be the open market or those who ‘mattered’.
    “I went to a Ramazan bazaar here in Lahore where bananas were being sold at Rs100 per dozen but they were rotten and small,” a senior official related his own experience.
    This reporter visited a bazaar early on Tuesday afternoon. Reasonably good apples were being sold at Rs190 per kg but they vanished after a quick round of the improvised market. The few that were left were rotten and being offered for Rs100 per kg.
    “The good ones have been quickly sold out,” replied the shopkeeper without mentioning who was the buyer.
    There was no difference between the rates of pulses in the Ramazan bazaar and the open market.
    For those seeking quality fruit, vegetables and mutton or beef, visiting Ramazan bazaars appeared useless. “You cannot buy good things at low rates. Low rates mean compromised quality,” said Muhammad Rashid at a Gulberg departmental store.
    But for common people, the open market rates of fruits considered a must for Iftar were beyond their reach. Peach was being sold at Rs100 per kg before Ramazan; its rate these days is Rs200 to Rs250 per kg. The pre-Ramazan rate of apricot was Rs 150 per kg that had now climbed to Rs250 to Rs300 per kg.Apple of Australia at Rs.400, Apple China Rs.350, Sindhari Mango Rs.170 to 200
    Bananas are being sold at Rs150 to Rs250 per dozen, and watermelon Rs70 to Rs80 per kg as against their pre-Ramazan average price of Rs40 per kg. Apples appear to be a luxury item, carrying a per kg price tag of Rs200 to Rs350.
    Official sources said that reports by the independent agency had alarmed the government, which attempted to make some improvements on Tuesday. “But still there are many issues to be settled,” the official added.
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    Item Reviewed: Ramazan bazaars in Multan and other parts of S.Punjab a far cry from govt claims of quality Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Abdul Sattar Qamar