Without any doubt, these have been very difficult times for the majority of the people because of the devastating impact of Covid-19 on the economy. A large number of people in the informal sectors have either lost their jobs or their livelihood has been severely impacted as businesses struggle to cope with the effects of the ongoing health crisis.
The pandemic continues to bring more challenges every passing day. More people fall victim to the virus while case tally continues to grow. Jammu and Kashmir recorded yet another grim milestone as the toll due to the virus crossed 3700 marks with 40 more officially confirmed deaths in 24 hours as of 1700 hours on May 26.
Even though there has been a reduction in the number of cases just recently, the situation continues to be grim. The hospitals are occupied with those needing critical care and some vast buildings stand turned to covid-19 facilities by the administration. With rural spread, Panchayat buildings are being converted into facilities for managing the covid-19 patients.
While there is gloom everywhere, some unscrupulous people are taking undue advantage of the situation. At a time when people are facing hard times due to the mounting covid-19 cases, skyrocketing prices of essential commodities have doubled their woes. People are forced to purchase commodities at whatever prices are fixed by the retailers. Fruits and vegetables continue to be sold at exorbitant prices with hardly any takers for the notified rate list by the government.
Complaints galore across the Valley that people are forced to purchase commodities at prices fixed by the retailers. Not only vegetables and fruits, edible oil prices have virtually gone through the roof with some brands being sold more than 25-30 percent more than they used to be not so long ago. Mutton is sold for Rs 65 more than the government fixed rate.
It is here that the administration should come forward and streamline the markets especially in controlling factors that are associated with pure malpractices by some unscrupulous people. The administration needs to face local challenges with a lot more authority than it is showing or lacking presently.
The rising food prices in these circumstances should not end up proving the government’s inability to do its job properly and protect citizens from profiteers and market manipulators. It is time the administration do the job and take to task the errant which only encourages the former at the peril of citizens. The official machinery needs to step up efforts to give relief to the common consumer.