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    Saturday, June 3, 2017

    Fruit prices 40 to 50 pc lower on second day of boycott in South Punjab

    To express solidarity with people of Karachi, People of South Punjab in General and Multan in Particular boycotted the fruits. They heaved a sigh of relief when prices of fruits came down to pre -Ramzan level on Saturday. Consumers Association of South Punjab claimed that fast observing people purchased minimu m fruits and thin activity was witnessed in fruit and vegetable markets of Multan, Bahawalpur, Dera Ghazi Khan, Muzaffargarh, Layyah, Rajanpur, Khanewal, Rahimyarkhan Bahawalnagar, Vehari,and Lodhran districts.A Survey report revealed that the price of fruit was lowered by up to 40 per cent after street vendors saw minimal market activity ."There were fewer buyers on the street, the usual hustle and bustle of Saturdays was missing," he said.
     "Street hawkers that previously refrained from displaying the price of fruit on their carts were now consumer calling the rates out loud in an effort to attract customers." Discussing the findings of his inspection, Consumer Association representatives said that the price of bananas had been lowered to Rs80 even though the price on the list was Rs100 and hawkers had been selling them at as high as Rs180 the previous day.Lemon had fallen to Rs.80 per kg from Rs.320."For now the price of fruit has gone down by at least 40pc but the Market Committee Multan is also to be blamed here for setting the price of fruit higher than necessary. The rate for bananas, for example, has been set at Rs100 & 115 per dozen when it is unjustified, as bananas do not have a transportation cost as high as other fruit," association added.He said he fully endorsed the boycott as the price set by the government was still out of the common man's reach."In fact citizens should use this tactic on other consumer products such as clothes and shoes as well," they concluded.On the other hand, the head of the  Market Committee Imtiaz Gulzar Chattan said that there was 10 to 15pc less activity in the fruit wholesale market.Chattan, however, did not agree with the citizens' boycott and said, "People are targeting street vendors once again and forgetting that supermarkets are selling fruit at nearly double the rate set by the government.""You can go check in any of these markets and you'll see Sindhri mangoes being sold at Rs180 while their price is set at Rs100 to 110. It is the same with peaches, supermarkets are selling them at Rs200 while the government has set the price at Rs110 to 150."
    Street vendors  were unhappy with the call to boycott fruit by civil society in the wake of a 300pc hike in fruit prices during the month of Ramazan. Most street sellers believe that the boycott is causing them losses while the gross-sellers remain unaffected by the boycott.

    “It is not my fault that bananas are for Rs160 to 180 a dozen right now. If I get something expensive from the fruit market, I will also sell it for more according to that rate, keeping my own profit in mind," a banana seller told to South Punjab News
    He added: "Why would I sell the fruit cheaper and make a loss? Why do you people want to punish me for something that is done elsewhere? I am not the commissioner or Deputy Commissioner of Multan, I don’t prepare the commodity price lists."The vendor looked frustrated as he said that the bananas on his cart were going to rot if no one bought them.On the other hand, the boycott started yielding results as early as Friday, with at least two banana vendors selling the fruit as low as Rs110 on LMQ road, Delhi gate, Old Shujabad road,Lakkar Mandi Chowk.

    Citizens too had mixed feelings about the boycott. While a large number of people stayed away from fruit carts on Saturday, some did buy fruit.

    "Even if I can’t afford to buy fruit in kilograms or by the dozen, I will still buy in grams. It is Friday today and my six-year-old son is observing his first fast. How can there not be fruit on the table?" said a mother looking for a small cantaloupe on a vendor’s cart on Friday.
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    Item Reviewed: Fruit prices 40 to 50 pc lower on second day of boycott in South Punjab Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Abdul Sattar Qamar