Jodia Bazaar shuts down in protest

Published April 16, 2021
This file phot shows a deserted Jodia Bazaar. — Fahim Siddiqi/White Star
This file phot shows a deserted Jodia Bazaar. — Fahim Siddiqi/White Star

KARACHI: Jodia Bazaar, the country’s oldest and biggest wholesale market of essential goods, remained shut on Thursday as traders protested against the decision of Additional Commissioner (AC) Karachi to sell commodities at three-year old rates.

The AC further imposed heavy fines on traders for selling goods at higher rates which led to a strong protest by wholesalers.

Talking to Dawn, Chairman Karachi Wholesalers Grocers Association (KWGA), Abdul Rauf Muhammad Ebrahim said Jodia Bazaar, a hub of wholesale market comprising over 500 shops, would remain closed on Friday due to the lockdown. KWGA will decide on the future course of action in the coming days, he said, while adding that the association has not received any message for negotiations with the price regulator.

Before Ramazan, KWGA had held four to five meetings for price fixing with price fixing with AC Karachi Asad Ali but the rates could not be finalised, said Mr Ebrahim.

“As a result, traders had been forced to sell commodities at 2018 rates which is unjustified keeping in view the prevailing high rates on account of world prices and exchange rate parity in the last three years. The Commissioner Office had also not issued price list from 2019 to 2021 and now traders are being asked to sell kitchen items at 2018 rates,” he said.

“How can we sell sugar at a three-year wholesale rate of Rs60 per kg as compared to the current rate of Rs94 per kg,” the KWGA chief said. He went on to add that prices of pulses have almost doubled in the last three years. Rice, wheat and flour wholesale prices have also gone up substantially.

Traders were fined Rs10,000-20,000 for ‘overcharging’ in the absence of any official price list for the year 2021, Mr Ebrahim lamented.

Published in Dawn, April 16th, 2021

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