KMC fines sweet shop Rs200,000 for selling stale foodOfficials say they are doing regular market inspections, while consumer rights activists say they need to be stricter.
The Kathmandu Metropolitan City on Monday slapped a fine of Rs200,000 on the New Road-based Tip Top Samosa shop for selling allegedly stale food.
The KMC said it has started conducting market inspections more strictly against shop owners who sell non-edible and adulterated foods during the time of festivals like Dashain and Tihar.
“We do regular market inspections. With regard to the Tip Top Samosa shop, we took action after we got complaints from the locals,” said Raju Nath Pandey, chief of City Police at the KMC.
The KMC took action after a local customer on Sunday bought doodh bari—a special sweet item made of milk, cardamom, saffron, almonds and pistachios)—that, the buyer alleged, was stale.
After the issue came to notice, local residents protested at the Samosa shop and Nepal Police personnel reached the shop and took one of the employees into custody. The employee was released on Monday.
Despite the incident, the shop, operated by Deepak Raj Thapaliya, was found selling stale food items the very next day.
“On Monday, there was another complaint, so we fined the shop Rs200,000 and warned it not to repeat such offences,” said Pandey. He said KMC officials are also getting complaints of rude behaviour from staff.
Although the KMC has been criticised for its ineffective market inspection in the past few months, it has taken action against some business operators like sweet shops and jar water sellers.
“It’s a welcome move, but there are hundreds of such sweet shops and restaurants that have been serving inedible and expired food items,” said Jyoti Baniya, chairman of the Forum for Protection of Consumer Rights-Nepal.
On July 20, the KMC had slapped a fine of Rs10,000 on PG Khaja Ghar on Pradarshani Marg for serving unhygienic food.
Meanwhile, on August 26, the KMC fined Rs150,000 to Putalisadak-based Kalinchowk Trading Nepal for selling contaminated Coca Cola beverage to its customers.
Officials at the KMC’s Food Quality Regulations and Livestock Division said it has prioritised the inspection of water, loose milk and edible oils in the market.
“We are more focused on these three things, and we will be stricter in the days to come,” said Awadesh Jha, chief of the Livestock Division who also oversees the KMC’s overall market inspection.
“Besides our regular market inspections, we also reach other places as and when we get complaints from customers,” Jha said.
He said in view of the upcoming festive season, the KMC is working on making market inspections stricter to control any artificial shortage of food items and black marketing.
The KMC’s ‘Market Management and Monitoring Act’, issued in February, 2021, states that all businesses, firms and shops should ensure the quality of goods they produce or sell. The law also prohibits the sale of goods or services by deception or through black marketing, overcharging, and creating artificial shortages and sale of fake and adulterated goods. However, these legal measures haven’t been enforced strictly yet.