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RAWALPINDI: Khayaban-i-Sir Syed traders blocked the road on Monday to protest surprise raids by the price control committee to monitor the prices of food items.

A team from the committee led by Ashr Iqbal visited a market on Khayaban-i-Sir Syed to check the quality of edibles, fruit and vegetables on sale. They were met by a protest by shopkeepers, led by former union council councillor Abdul Shakoor.

The protesters blocked the road and shouted slogans against the price control authorities. They demanded that the authorities be controlled by the chief minister and alleged that they were harassing small traders on the pretext of price checks.

The protesters blocked the road at around 3pm and called off their protest after an hour, when they were assured that no traders would be harassed.

A police team was also at the scene in case of a law and order situation.

With Ramazan entering its third week, local residents have continued to complain about expensive and substandard quality fruit, vegetables and meat being sold in the market.

They have said items are being sold at prices higher than those fixed by the district administration or the price control committee.

Although the number of price magistrates in the district has been increased from 36 to 57, the administration is focused mainly on its 16 Sasta Ramazan Bazaars. Prices in the open market have not been controlled.

A resident from Asghar Mall Road said the district administration has not been able to check vendors and stallholders who have been fleecing the public and selling substandard fruit and other edibles.

He added that the market committee has not been able to ensure that everyday items are priced according to the official price list, and no food inspector has visited these markets to check product quality.

However, district administration officials and police have been visiting Ramazan Bazaars to keep a check on prices and maintain security. Extra police have also been deployed around these markets.

Published in Dawn, May 21st, 2019