The High Court Monday issued a show cause notice to government after a fresh application was moved before it stating that the essential commodities in the Valley were being sold at high rates without any check.
The division bench of Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Dhiraj Singh Thakur issued a show cause notice to the Commissioner Secretary, Food and Civil Supplies and Commissioner Transport department and directed them to respond to the contention of the interim relief prayed by the petitioner.
The bench directed the respondents to reply to the notice within four weeks.
The application moved by Jammu Kashmir Peoples Forum through General Secretary M M Shuja states that the divisional administration in Kashmir had totally crumbled and failed to address the issue of price rise in the Valley.
“Unprecedentedly, local collard greens (saag) and local spinach is sold at Rs 100 per kg, local Nadroo is sold at Rs 250 to 300 per kg, meat is sold at Rs 600 per kg. Uncovered food items like pickles, smoked fish, and so-called Biryani is offered for public consumption. Expired juices and jellys are openly offered for sale. Other vegetables rates vary from vendor-to-vendor and market-to-market,” the application states.
The counsel representing the petitioner’s organisation, Shafkat Nazir submitted before the court that the LPG home delivery system had totally been abandoned, LPG stocks were not available for 24 hours but offered for sale once in a blue moon in the morning hours.
He submitted that petrol pumps remain closed for days together whenever the Srinagar-Jammu highway is closed for traffic, creating a hue and cry, due to non-availability of food grains, petroleum products and other essential commodities.
“Tainted traffic management is in place and to-and-fro traffic is allowed at the whim of Traffic Police officers,” he said.
Regarding the auto rickshaw operators in Srinagar, the application states that they have created their own kingdom.
“From the district court complex to High Court, unilateral and unfair rate of Rs 100 is charged, from Lal Chowk to Soura, Rs 200 is charged, from District Court Complex Srinagar to Bagat Chowk Rs 100 is charged, from Lal Chowk to Airport (drop gate) Rs 250 are charged and so on,” the application reads.
It points out that there is no public transport available in various routes of Srinagar including Chanapora, Sanat Nagar, Khonmoh, Buchpora, Lal Bazar and other downtown and civil lines areas.
“Even Tata sumo operators do not operate on the Srinagar-Chari Sharief road beyond 6 pm and hundreds of passengers including employees, students are seen in distress conditions on the roads,” the application states.
The application alleges that the departments of Food Supplies, Food Safety, Regional Transport Office, Kashmir (RTO) and traffic are totally sleeping over these grave issues which hit the public at large.
It further states that whenever the highway is closed or whenever a little bit of overflow of passengers travelling by air is there, airlines operators hike the fares.
Srinagar to Jammu airfare goes above Rs 14000, Srinagar to Delhi more than Rs 21000 and so on, the applicant states.
“This not only affects the common people but also creates additional burden on the government exchequer in the shape of claim of officers and dignitaries travelling for official purpose,” the application states.
The petitioner’s organisation in the application has sought intervention of the Chief Justice in all the matters and pleaded that the application be treated as a PIL.
The court after going through the application treated it as a PIL and directed the respondents to explain why the reliefs prayed in the application were not granted.