Check unwarranted profiteering
Post by RK News on Thursday, November 17, 2022
The coming of winter poses many challenges to the people of Kashmir. From weather vagaries to pesky power cuts people at large face a lot of inconvenience and hardships. It is a fact that in the wake of snowfall, the administration usually remains preoccupied with road clearance, restoration of electricity and availability of essential commodities. We have seen in the past that black marketers and unscrupulous elements take advantage of the unfavorable weather conditions during winters by increasing the prices of the commodities and creating false scarcity of essentials. Many experts are of the opinion that generally market checking squads have been conducting raids on festival times however such exercises should not be conducted on special occasions only. While black marketing and profiteering are not subject to any occasion and continue throughout the year, the authorities need to keep a regular vigil especially during winters. A meticulous examination of this matter reveals that market checks and special squads have been contributing little in any calendar year. Unrestrained violations of norms and standards throughout the UT demand that the scope of market checks be enhanced and more powers be vested to the squads. By realizing few thousand rupees, seizing some articles and destroying stale products, the squads are in no way looked as serious threat by the profiteers and hoarders. Government approved rate lists that can be seen hanging on back walls of shops and stores do not seem to convey the message clearly. Rarely a customer picks up the issue of approved prices against the arbitrary one put up by shopkeeper. At the most, the grievous customer expresses and registers his protest by writing a letter to an editor. And that goes for selected few who can’t gulp the extortion of the profiteers without a react. If the government and district authorities really care about people and profiteering then they should disclose the figures year round. If thousands are realized as penalty, how much is missed annually and slips in the coffers of the unscrupulous traders? There needs to be a strong sense and commitment to check that customers are not duped, which unfortunately is not the case. From prices of livestock to dairy products to everyday consumables people (customers) have been complaining a lot. Consumer courts are also not empowered enough to bring in the respite. Complaints and cases registered remain on shelves and are not executed in the manner they are expected by the complainants. In such circumstance, it is Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs (FCS&CA) and the market check squads. If the latter follows the trend of ‘special appearance’ the state of affairs will worsen only. Department of FCS&CA has an additional responsibility to ensure that stock of commodities is taken care of as any shortage during chilly winters deals a hard blow to the department. Besides making customary announcements of framing market checking squads, it is time to do something practical which checks the unwarranted profiteering, regulates the market prices and keeps the swindlers and black marketers at bay during winters in Kashmir.