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Cheaper by the dozen: Sasta Bazaar in Gilgit has few takers

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GILGIT: The place reserved for ‘Sasta Ramazan Bazaar’ in the heart of Gilgit City bears a deserted look as vendors have avoided setting up stalls there.

HunzaNews, July 3rd, 2014.

The local administration had reserved part of Ghari Bagh to set up the bazaar, covering it with tents, to ensure availability of commodities at affordable rates during the month of Ramazan. However, the initiative has been marred by the lack of interest taken by vendors as well as buyers.

“There are only three vendors in the bazaar, selling ice,” said Nafees, a resident of Gilgit. “I was expecting that all daily-use items would be available in the bazaar at reasonable rates, but the situation is completely different.”

However, it is business as usual just outside the parameters of the bazaar, with vendors selling fresh fruit and vegetables at double the rates.

Watermelons, which were available for Rs20 per kilogramme before Ramazan, are now being sold at Rs40.

Similarly, the prices of tomatoes, potatoes and other edibles have also registered a steep hike.

“I am not interested in the Sasta Bazaar, only because my business is doing better here,” said a vendor selling fruit on his pushcart. “I will lose money if I go to the Sasta Bazaar because people don’t like going there.”

The bazaar’s failure to attract traders and buyers is attributed to the local administration’s lack of interest by many.

Customers visiting the bazaar said they never saw any authorities visiting the site or taking any step to ensure its success. “Today is the fourth day, but I have not seen a single official,” said Liaqat Khan, who lives in the vicinity and pays frequent visits to Ghari Bagh every day.

Authorities, however, are optimistic about the endeavour.

“This is just the beginning. I am sure it (the bazaar) will attract many customers in the coming days,” said Chiraguddin, an official of the local administration. “We will ensure that all items are available at the bazaar and that too on reasonable rates.”

 Express Tribune

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