Border hopping shoppers increase after budget

- MOHAN BUDAYER, BHAWANI BHATTA, KAILALI/KANCHANPUR
Shoppers are willing to spend Rs100 on transport and make a 30 km trip to India because daily essential goods are relatively cheaper in the bordering markets

Jun 20, 2018-Residents of border towns are hopping across the frontier into India in increasing numbers to buy daily household goods following a sharp price hike after the federal budget statement was issued.

Consumers in Kailali district are making quick trips to nearby Indian markets such as Tikune, Khakraula, Bangaun and Palia while consumers in Kanchanpur district are going to Banbasa, Tanakpur, Khatiya and other markets.

Shoppers are willing to spend Rs100 on transport and make a 30 km trip to India because daily essential goods are relatively cheaper in the bordering markets. “We can buy goods at lower prices,” said Surendra Bista of Uttar Behadi in Dhangadhi. “Prices of goods in Nepal have increased sharply.”

Bista said that all products became dearer by Rs10 to Rs100 after the budget. “That’s why the number of consumers travelling to the border markets has swelled.”

Ajay Gupta, a trader at Palia, said that daily sales in Bangaun and Palia had increased to Rs10 million following the rush of Nepali customers. Traders in Nepal hiked prices for no reason saying that it had been announced in the budget, said Keshav Panta, a local of Kailali. He added that the government should control market prices.

“Prices have gone up abnormally as there is no mechanism to monitor market trends.” He said that a hike in retail and wholesale prices in Dhangadhi had affected a large section of the population.  

Hari Regmi, chairman of the National Consumer Forum of Kailali, said that the price hike had affected the market. Besides, a rise in the price of fuel has also increased the burden on consumers. He said that the increase in taxes through the budget was the major reason which sent commodity prices through the roof. “It’s the government that has caused market prices to go up.”

Similarly, vegetable prices have increased fourfold in Mahendranagar. “Vegetable prices touched the sky in the last four days,” said Jay Raj Bhatta, a local of Mahendranagar. Prices of potato, onion and garlic imported from India have also increased.

With farmers starting preparations to transplant paddy and the spring vegetable season having ended, vegetable have become dearer, said traders.

Grocery prices too have swelled, said locals. The price of rice has increased by Rs5-10 per kg. However, Shiva Kumar Gupta, a grocery trader at the Mahendra market, said that prices of grocery items had increased by only Rs1 to Rs2.

Published: 20-06-2018 08:23

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