Monitoring intensified amid shopping spree

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Sep 26, 2016-

The Department of Supply Management has intensified market inspection in the Kathmandu Valley in a bid to prevent potential malpractices during the shopping spree that traditionally precedes the upcoming Dashain and Tihar festivals. 

“For the last few days, we have been sending out five teams of inspectors compared to two in the past to conduct market monitoring effectively,” said Deepak Raj Pokharel, monitoring officer of the department. “The teams will inspect at least 25 shops daily at different locations in the valley,” he added.

Pokharel said five teams had been assigned to monitor stores that sell products in high demand during the festivals. One team, according to Pokharel, will monitor possible anomalies at food stores and fair price shops. 

The government opened 46 fair price shops last week, 13 of which are located in the valley, They sell essential goods at fair prices with the aim of preventing overpricing during the festival rush. The government has also been selling subsidised products through various privately owned food stores. 

Likewise, a separate team has been mobilised to monitor outlets that sell fish and meat products. Also, three separate teams have been formed to observe trading at stores selling dairy products and sweets, eateries, guest houses, transport service providers, polyclinics and drug stores. 

Pokharel said the department had been keeping a close eye on the activities of health service providers after a number of them were found operating without licences. The department has questioned more than a dozen health service providers operating illegally. 

Despite increasing market monitoring activities in different sectors, the department has not formed a team to monitor stores selling apparels and footwear whose demand surges during the Dashain festival.

“A number of apparel stores has been selling products by keeping a high markup and they are also engaged in under-invoicing imported products. Yet government officials are unwilling to probe them due to fears of possible retaliation by traders,” said a high-ranking department official. 

Department sources said the Ministry of Supplies had not taken action against most of the owners of apparel stores who have been charged with committing anomalies. Two weeks ago, the department had urged the ministry to take action against Fashion Flow of Maharajgunj which has been accused of selling apparels at exorbitant prices.

Two years ago, a department team that conducted market inspection of clothes stores at Bishal Bazaar had to withdraw following pressure from shopkeepers. The sellers had been accused of marking up their products more than 10-fold.

Published: 26-09-2016 08:54

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