The prices of daily use items have skyrocketed as profiteers, racketeers and extortionists have started their annual looting season of people by creating artificial price hikes in local markets of twin cities with the advent of the blessed month of Ramadan-ul-Mubarak. The traders are brazenly defying the official price list without any fear besides fleecing the people with both hands by openly flouting official rate lists, issued daily by local administration ceremoniously. The rising trend in prices of essential items have multiplied the miseries of fixed income people, besides taking away several commodities off the Iftar menu as racketeers have made all sorts of arrangements to loot already inflation-hit middle and lower middle class. A survey of several markets of federal capital including Aabpara market, Supermarket, Sitara market, Bhara Kahu, PWD, Tench Bhatta, Saddar, Lalkurti, Commercial Market and several other markets of the twin cities reveals that banana is available at Rs 150 to Rs 400 per dozen while per kg rate of guava is over Rs 200. Similarly, the prices of water melon and other fruits are very high in the market. Likewise the price of chicken meat has touched Rs 480 per kg, which is an all time high. Boneless chicken is being sold at Rs 690 per kg and live at Rs 280 per kg. Talking to APP, Umer, a clerk in a private firm said the prices of fruits have recorded an alarming increase since the start of holy month forcings them to drop the plan of buying fruit for Iftar. Usman, a security supervisor in a private Bank said, buying foodstuffs for Iftar and Sehr were beyond his purchasing limit, that is why he broke the fast with simple rice. Another citizen Farhan said traders had kept the official price list on the tip of their shoes and they were involved in the abhorrent practices of fleecing and profiteering. He criticised the local administration for their failure to check those traders who were defying the official rate list of daily use commodities. Long queues are witnessed outside Utility Stores and Ramazan bazaars waiting for subsidised flour and sugar. The sweetener is available but only one kg per customer. Citizens asked the district administration to tighten noose around the hoarders and profiteers through price magistrates and put them behind bars for overcharging poor consumers. “Merely imposing fines on traders does not serve the purpose”, they observed, demanding throwing behind bars for those who were found flouting the official price list, selling substandard food items and indulging into the practices of hoarding and profiteering. When contacted by a senior officer of Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) administration, he said several teams of ICT carried out over 1,051 inspections on Saturday to ensure price control. A total of 23 shops sealed, 17 arrested besides registering three first information reports against the profiteers. A total of Rs 294,500 fine was imposed on the price hike.