Govt to inspect zinc sheet factories

- RAJESH KHANAL, Kathmandu

May 18, 2015-

The government has said it will inspect the factories producing zinc sheets to ascertain whether the prices quoted are fair.

The government plans to distribute the galvanised zinc sheets to earthquake victims for building temporary shelters. The government says the real market price of a bundle of a 50kg zinc sheet is Rs5,000, but the manufacturers have quoted Rs5,700. “We will cross-check their cost first to ascertain whether they are charging higher,” Shambhu Koirala, director general at the Department of Commerce and Supply Management.

As per the Black-marketing and Some Other Social Offences and Punishment Act 1975, sellers taking more than 20 percent profit can be charged for violating the law.

Four companies—Arati Steels of Biratnagar, Hulas Metal of Simara and Rajesh Metal and Bhagawati Metal of Birgunj—manufacture the product.

However, the manufacturers claim they have not overpriced the product. Diwakar Golchha, vice-chairman of Golchha Organisation that produces Hulas brand zinc sheets, said they were ready sell the product to the government if the latter procured it at the market price.

“We have sell the product at at least Rs5,550 plus VAT per 50kg bundle with 72 sheets to meet our cost of production,” said Golchha, adding the manufacturers are facing immense demand from even the private sector organisations, NGOs and volunteer organisations.

Meanwhile, the DoCSM has decided to intensify market inspection to control black-marketing of essential products. There has been a surge in the demand of zinc sheets after the recent earthquakes that have completely or partially damaged many houses.

The quakes and subsequent aftershocks claimed over 8,500 lives and destroyed more than 700,000 houses. An estimated 1.5 million of the corrugated sheets are needed to build temporary shelters for the displaced people.

Koirala said they were receiving complaints regarding the price of the products. Last week too, the DoCSM took action against retailers for overcharging customers.

Published: 19-05-2015 08:03

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