As the holy month Ramadan is here, markets across the Kashmir Valley are bustling with activity. However, residents are facing the challenge of soaring prices for essential food items, triggering widespread resentment among the residents.

Amidst a surge in demand for essential goods, the absence of any official intervention to check food prices has perturbed the consumers.

“There is nobody to check market prices which the shopkeepers set by their own liking,” said Abdul Rashid Khan, a resident of Nawakadal in Srinagar.

One of the most alarming rises has been witnessed in the prices of Mutton. “The butchers charge with their own will. The prices are at places as high as 680 a kilogram and at other 650, 600, it is all a matter of liking with nobody to check,” said Suhail, a local resident of Anantnag.

Last year, the central government issued an order directing the officials of the Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution (CAPD) to stop intervening into markets and not issue price lists for mutton or other items.

Consumers told The Kashmiriyat that the price of tomatoes, a kitchen staple for all households, has increased severely.

Previously available at a reasonable rate, tomato prices have reached 50 rupees per kilogram from 30 rupees per kilogram.

“The surge has seen a dramatic escalation from the earlier standard rate of 600 rupees per crate, which is now reaching 1100 rupees per crate,” said a shopkeeper.

Similarly, collard greens, locally known as “haakh” and fundamental to the cuisine of the Valley, are now being retailed at inflated prices ranging from 30 to 60 rupees per kilogram.

The escalating prices have spread widespread concern from the public.

Many residents may find it difficult to afford basic necessities, raising fears of food insecurity in the region. (The Kashmiriyat)