Dhading shopkeepers go on strike to protest raid

- Harihar Singh Rathore, DHADING

Sep 19, 2017-Shopkeepers in Dhading pulled down their shutters on Monday in protest after a government market monitoring team led by State Minister for Supply Karna Bahadur Bishwakarma sealed a number of stores on the charge of overpricing.

State Minister Bishwakarma on Sunday inspected readymade garment outlets, gasoline stations, food stores, meat shops and vegetable stores in the district headquarters and ordered that those involved in wrongdoing be sealed.  

With officials of the Department of Food Technology and Quality Control and the Nepal Bureau of Standards and Metrology in tow, Bishwakarma entered a cosmetic shop at Puchhar Bazaar and asked the price of a pair of sandals.

The shopkeeper, who didn’t recognize the minister, said Rs600. Bishwakarma requested him to show the purchase bill and saw that the cost price of the sandals was Rs160. The state minister immediately directed the officials to seal the shop. Inland Revenue Department officials also seized the shop’s account books.

A majority of shops in Dhading failed to show the purchase bill for their goods worth millions to the state minister, and some of them even did not have a certificate of registration for their businesses. Bishwakarma accused the shopkeepers of bringing goods from Kathmandu and Raxaul in India without paying taxes and selling them at exorbitant prices.

He ordered that their stores be sealed and asked the Inland Revenue Department to initiate action against them.

Following the raid by the minister, traders have closed down the market accusing the government of discouraging them during the festive season. Bishwakarma claimed that the inspection had been conducted in a bid to protect the general public from being cheated during the festival shopping rush.

“We have found businesses and traders charging extremely high prices besides evading taxes. This will not be tolerated and strong action will be taken against such merchants,” said Bishwakarma. “Henceforth, these inspections will not be seasonal. They will be carried out at other times besides the festive season. We will give continuity to inspections and monitoring on a regular basis.” 

He also inspected hotels and meat shops and instructed the district administration office to carry out continuous monitoring to ensure that they maintain hygiene and pay regular taxes.

The market monitoring team led by the state minister also inspected petrol pumps located on the Prithvi Highway. Officials warned Amleswor Oil that its licence could be scrapped as it was found selling gasoline to filling stations in Kathmandu directly from tankers instead of from its pump.

Published: 19-09-2017 09:34

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