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Of little value: Gilgit’s sasta bazaar a cheap shot

By Shabbir Mir

GILGIT: The ‘sasta bazaar’ set up in Gilgit town to offer food items at subsidised rates during Ramazan has failed to attract vendors and customers alike.Vendors say the bazaar is in the wrong place while customers blame the sellers.

Location, location, location

The bazaar was set up by the local administration to provide edible items at cheaper rates. However, the bazaar’s location is City Park this year. Previously, the subsidised market would be established at Ghari Bagh where construction is currently under way.

“It’s a flop show so far. There is nothing in the bazaar except for some water melons,” said Fareed Alam, a local. “We were expecting more things at cheap rates but that’s not the case.”

Customers visiting the market return empty handed as the stalls are yet to stock essential commodities such as vegetables, cooking oil and rice.

“I’m not interested in the market anymore,” shared a vendor who had a stall last year. “We do good business in the open market and sell more here compared to the sasta bazaar.”

He added the location of the sasta bazaar is far from ideal this Ramazan, “It is too far for most people to access.” The vendor said, “Suppliers of vegetables and fruits have to pay extra to reach the bazaar and that’s the reason they avoid it.”

Higher and higher

The prices of edible commodities registered a sharp increase during the last three weeks before Ramazan

According to locals, the price of two dozen different products, including eggs, rice, meat, fruit and cooking oil have jumped up. “It’s strange that prices of commodities in Ramazan have shot up despite the government claiming they would come down,” says a customer.

The prices of potatoes, onions, sugar and oil, used by people to prepare Iftari, saw an unwarranted increase ahead of the holy month.

However, officials meant to control the market price lists say they have a handle on things. “We have devised a mechanism to control the prices and are implementing it,” said
an official.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 22nd, 2015. 


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