Market inspection drive of large firms fizzles out

  • lack of consumer protection
- Post Report, Kathmandu

Aug 6, 2018-

The government has failed to carry out effective market inspection of large firms despite repeated pledges to protect consumers from business misconduct and fraud.

According to the records of the Department of Commerce and Supply Management, 4,915 outlets were checked in the last fiscal year, most of them small retail shops. Among them, 4,157 firms were from the Kathmandu Valley.

Following the inauguration of the Oli administration on February 15, Supplies Minister Matrika Prasad Yadav had promised to put big offenders behind bars. However, the government remained a mute spectator when businesses hiked prices after the budget statement was issued, said consumers.

Among the 4,915 firms probed in the last fiscal year, action was taken against only 43 firms even though many of them were found to be engaged in fraud. “Most of the market monitoring operations were conducted as a mere ritual,” said a department official.

The 43 firms against whom the department had sought to take action included five schools and six automobile traders.

The five schools--GEMS School, Dhapakhel; Rato Bangala School, Patan; Premier International School, Satdobato and Chandbagh School, Bansbari--were accused of charging exorbitant fees from students.

The department said it was still in the process of obtaining the consent of public prosecutors.

Similarly, the department has almost stopped the process of taking action against the six automobile traders due to pressure from influential groups.

There has been no progress in the case against six hospitals either.

The department itself filed cases against 13 firms operating on Durbar Marg and New Road. Similarly, it filed cases against 12 outlets selling food items and one eatery business operating in Dhading on Prithvi Highway.

From the last four months, the government has handed over the task of conducting market inspections outside the Valley to local governments. So far, no significant progress has been seen with regard to prosecuting fraudsters, the department source said.

Published: 06-08-2018 08:31

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