Print Edition - 2014-09-12 | MONEY
Overcharging continues despite govt crackdown
Sep 11, 2014-
The government had recently taken action against a number of bottled water dealers for overcharging customers, but the crackdown does not seem to have produced any change in their behaviour.
Almost all the shopkeepers in the Kathmandu valley still charge Rs 25-30 for a 1-litre bottle of water despite the price tag of Rs 20. Retailers pass the buck to the suppliers saying that the price is fixed by them.
“Following the government’s move against the water cartel, these dealers have quit operations. But new suppliers are now selling the product at an increased rate,” said a retailer in Koteshwor. “As I paid Rs 200 for a carton containing 12 bottles of water, I have to sell them for Rs 25 apiece.”
Another retailer at Tinkune said that some suppliers were charging Rs 170 for a carton of mineral water against Rs 135 a month ago. Kishor Manandhar, president of the Nepal Bottled Water Manufactures’ Association, said they had urged manufacturers to sell their products at the old rate.
Last month, the police arrested Surendra Shakya, proprietor of AM International, acting under orders of the Chief District Officer of Kathmandu after a parliamentary committee directed the Home Ministry to take action against wrongdoers.
“As the police have taken action against Shakya, we have urged manufactures to charge the actual rate,” he said. He added that retailers had also asked their suppliers to provide a bill of sale.
Krishna Gaire, an official at the Kathmandu District Administration Office, said that Shakya was released after posting bail of Rs 100,000.
“Now the Lalitpur District Office will take further action against him under the Black Marketing Act and other social offence laws.”
Narayan Prasad Bidari, director general of the Department of Commerce and Supplies, said that the government had intensified monitoring of the market following complaints that prices were being hiked arbitrarily.
He added that anyone found overcharging customers would be penalized. However, customers have complained that monitoring has not been effective.
Published: 12-09-2014 09:34