Market monitoring fails to protect consumersThe government has admitted that despite intensifying its market monitoring efforts ahead of the Dashain festival — the biggest festival of Hindus, they have failed to protect consumers from the rampant selling of substandard products along with excessive price hikes.
The government has admitted that despite intensifying its market monitoring efforts ahead of the Dashain festival — the biggest festival of Hindus, they have failed to protect consumers from the rampant selling of substandard products along with excessive price hikes.
The Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies, the Department of Supply Management and Protection of Consumers Interest (DoSMPCI), the Bureau of Standards and Metrology, concerned District Administration Offices, the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development and the Department of Food Technology and Quality Control (DFTQC), among others, are the main government authorities tasked with conducting market monitoring of consumers items including edibles which sell quickly during festivals.
These authorities have been ineffective in their market inspection and consumers are paying higher prices for products. On Friday, the DoSMPCI sealed The Korean Shop in Jamal on the charge of selling outfits nearly five times their original price.Deepak Raj Pokharel, the monitoring officer at the department, said the authority took the
action after the shop was found to be selling apparel items by taking up to 500 percent profit margin. As per the law, the shop taking more than 20 percent profits fall under black market offense.
Last week, the government authority also grilled Peanuts Private Limited, an apparel store in Dharmapath, for charging exorbitant prices. The shop has also been charged for taking excessive profit along with failing to produce the purchase invoice. The department also sealed the clothes store.
Pokharel said the department has intensified market inspection with the beginning of festivals. “The department has also planned to carry on its effort during the peak time of the festival period, especially during public holidays,” he said.
Apart from paying exorbitant amounts of money for clothes, consumers face the risk of paying more of food items and receiving expired or substandard food items during the festive period.A few days before, Sangam Sweets in Baneshwor and Byanjan Sweets Shop and Annapurna Misthanna Bhandar in Gaushala faced action on the charge of selling substandard sweets products.
The DFTQC Spokesperson Purna Chandra Wasti said Byanjan and Annapurna failed to maintain proper hygiene at their production plants while Sangam Sweets was found using inedible colour in the products that it sold. Grocery stores were found to be taking advantage of the surge in demand during festivals with many resorting to various malpractices. Last week, the government team destroyed a large amount of expired food items from Hari Om Khadda Store and Rajdev Khaddyanna Store in Madhyapur Thimi, Bhaktapur; Jyoti Krishna Kirana Pasal and Sandeep Store in
Buddhanagar, Kathmandu; Mukhiya Store in Chabahil, Kathmandu; Sidaha Trade and Suppliers in Tinkune, Kathmandu; Jamunali Store, Nepal Agriculture Dairy Firm, Karki Khadda Store and Suhim Shopping Centre in Koteshwor, Kathmandu.
Consumer right activists blamed the seasonal market inspection by the government authorities and their reluctance in taking stern actions against the wrong doers as the underlying problems that cost the consumers. Madhav Timilsina, president of Consumer Rights Investigation Forum, said lack of coordination among the government authorities was another major problem in failing to protect the consumers. “Rather than just conducting market inspection for mere publicity, the government has to come up with concrete plan of market regulation throughout the year,” Timilsina said.
- The Korean Shop in Jamal found selling clothes at 500% markup
- Peanuts Private Limited in Dharmapath found charging exorbitant prices
- Sangam Sweets in Baneshwor found selling substandard sweet products
- Byanjan Sweets Shop, Annapurna Misthanna Bhandar in Gaushala found selling substandard sweet products
Shops charged with selling expired products include:
- Hari Om Khadda Store and Rajdev Khaddyanna Store in Madhyapur Thimi, Bhaktapur;
- Mukhiya Store in Chabahil, Kathmandu;
- Sidaha Trade and Suppliers in Tinkune, Kathmandu;
- Jamunali Store, Nepal Agriculture Dairy Firm, Karki Khadda Store and Suhim Shopping Centre in Koteshwor