Board scraps 51 Kalimati veggie traders’ permits

- Post Report, KATHMANDU

Sep 19, 2018-

The Kalimati Fruits and Vegetables Market Development Board has revoked permits of 51 traders operating stalls at the country’s largest vegetable market, a move to eliminate middlemen in the vegetable trade as their involvement has led to high prices for consumers.

A meeting of the board on Tuesday made the decision to this effect. Two weeks ago, the board had scrapped the permits of six stalls.

“As of now, out of 98 stalls, we have scrapped the permits of 57 stalls as part of a move to end cartel in the vegetable business,” said Agriculture Minister Chakrapani Khanal, speaking at an interaction here on Tuesday.

“We have initiated action against those traders who have been operating stalls against the agreement.”

Last August, a joint team of the Department of Supply Management and Protection of Consumers Interest and the ministry swooped on the Kalimati market in a crackdown on cartels in the vegetable business.

The investigation revealed that a syndicate of middlemen had a vice-like grip on the supply chain, resulting in high prices for consumers and low returns for farmers.  During the inspection, the regulator found that many vegetable traders were not issuing bills of sale as required by law.

Middlemen in the lucrative vegetable trade have become emboldened to even manhandle members of a government team on an inspection visit. The country’s largest vegetable and fruit market had to partially shut down in protest against the market inspection.

The inspection also revealed that 98 stalls in the Kalimati market were being illegally operated by sub-lessees. The Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies has taken over the investigation and formed a task force to clean up the Kalimati market.

The department asked a number of traders to appear with appropriate clarification on suspicion of running

a cartel.

On September 4, the meeting of the board immediately cancelled permits of six stalls after they failed to submit satisfactory explanations.

Tej Bahadur Subedi, spokesperson at the Agriculture Ministry, said that 25 stalls have been given clean chit and 16 other stalls have been acquitted on the condition that they improve their stalls’ cleanliness among others. He said that the board will start removing the stalls from Wednesday. Kalimati fulfils around 70 percent of the Valley’s daily requirement of 1,000 tonnes of vegetables.

Published: 19-09-2018 08:18

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