Preparations being rushed for fair price shops

- POST REPORT, Kathmandu
Preparations being rushed for fair price shops

Aug 22, 2014-

The government has been speeding up preparations to set up a string of temporary fair price shops as announced earlier. These outlets selling daily essentials will be established in eight places in the Kathmandu valley and the depots of Nepal Food Corporation (NFC) elsewhere in the country. They will remain open from September 17 for one and half months until the Chhath festival.

The shops in the valley will be located at Ram Shah Path, Teku, Koteshwor, Kalimati, Thapathali, Lagankhel, Surya Binayak and Satungal. More stores will be opened at every depot of NFC. Last year, the government had opened seven shops in the valley.

The fair price stores will sell essential goods like rice, pulse, oil, sugar, salt and various home appliances at subsidized rates. They are expected to prevent possible price hikes, black marketing and artificial shortages during the festival season when Dashain, Tihar and Chhath are celebrated.

The Ministry of Commerce and Supplies will facilitate the establishment of the shops in coordination with four state-owned enterprises NFC, Salt Trading Corporation, National Trading Limited and Dairy Development Corporation.

Commerce Ministry Spokesperson Deepak Subedi said they had been holding discussions with the four organizations on the operating guideline, the budget required to run the shops, the amount of discount to be provided and the required stocks. “We are trying to finalize all these factors by next Tuesday,” he added.

According to Subedi, the ministry had spent Rs 9 million for the fair price shops last year, adding that the budget could be 15-20 percent higher this year.

The ministry has been operating fair price shops annually during the festival season for the last few years. Last year, it operated seven shops in the valley for two and half months.

Subedi said these shops were intended to provide relief to the general public during festivals when shortages and price hikes usually occur due to the shopping rush. “Many traders may stick arbitrary price tags on essential goods during the festival season when demand soars. So these fair price shops are a great convenience to the people, especially low income people,” he said.

The state-owned enterprises taking part in the scheme have been making preparations for the shops. “We will decide the goods and facilities to be provided at the fair price shops by Tuesday,” said Nawaraj Upadhyay, deputy general manager of NFC. “The amount of discounts and products for sale will be the same as last year.”

NFC had offered discounts of up to Rs 200 per quintal on a wide variety of rice last year. Salt Trading had slashed prices of salt and sugar by Rs 5 per kg. National Trading had provided discounts of up to 20 percent on various home appliances while Dairy Development Corporation had cut prices of yogurt, ghee, ice cream and other products by Rs 2 to Rs 10 per litre.

Published: 23-08-2014 09:27

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