GHALANAI, July 6: Shopkeepers in Mohmand Agency have increased prices of kitchen items over the last one week at will ahead of the fasting month of Ramazan.
During a visit to different markets in the agency on Saturday, Dawn found that gram (dal chana) was selling at Rs100 per kg against Rs90 per kg last week, lentil (dal maash) Rs190 per kg against Rs160 per kg, green gram (dal moong) Rs160 per kg against Rs145 per kg, sugar Rs56 per kg against Rs45 per kg, ghee Rs145 per kg against Rs130 per kg, rice of high quality Rs140-Rs120 per kg against Rs80-100 per kg, gram flour (basin) Rs80 per kg against Rs65 per kg, chicken meat Rs260-Rs250 per kg against Rs240-Rs230 per kg and wheat flour (atta) Rs780-Rs630 per 20kg bag.
Mohammad Idress, a vegetable vender in the Agency Headquarters Ghalanai Bazaar, said tomato was selling at Rs90 per kg compared to last week’s Rs50 per kg, potato at Rs20 per kg against last week’s Rs40 per kg and onion at Rs50 per kg against last week’s Rs40 per kg.
Gul Zameen Khan, a resident of Main Mandi, said it happened every year ahead of Ramazan.
“Come the holy month, the prices of kitchen items go up and the administration fails to control them,” he said.
He said the prices would further go up in the coming days.
Mr Gul said shopkeepers increased prices of kitchen items by Rs10 on average every Ramazan but as the local administration began a crackdown on profiteering, they decreased prices by Rs5 on average.
Khan Mohammad, a shopkeeper in Ghalanai Bazaar, said the artificial inflation had made life miserable for the common man, especially the salaried class.
However, the shopkeepers said prices of kitchen items had increased in the wholesale market and they had only passed them onto the people.
They said sugar was selling at Rs51 per kg in the wholesale market and they charged Rs56 per kg for it.
Hafeezullah, a shopkeeper at Main Mandi Bazaar, said: “We have to give taxes (bribe) on different checkposts while carrying food items from Peshawar. This makes us sell commodities at higher prices.”
When contacted, assistant political agent of Ghalanai Jamshed Khan said the administration would take action against profiteers and hoarders.
“Such shopkeepers will be detained and fined,” he said.
He said price control committees would be set up in each tehsil of Mohmand Agency on the special directives of political agent Dr Amber Ali Khan.
“These committees will monitor the prices of kitchen items in their respective areas to check profiteering and hoarding,” he said.