Market monitoring: Authorities ordered to take stern actionThe Industry, Commerce, Labour and Consumer Welfare Protection Committee on Friday directed the concerned government authorities that look after market regulation to take stern action against businesses that engage in dishonest practices.
The Industry, Commerce, Labour and Consumer Welfare Protection Committee on Friday directed the concerned government authorities that look after market regulation to take stern action against businesses that engage in dishonest practices.
Concerned with the growing number of market anomalies including the use of software to dispense lower amounts of fuel by petrol pumps, the parliamentary committee asked the authorities to abide by the direction during a multilateral meeting.
A few days ago, the Nepal Bureau of Standards and Metrology (NBSM)’s market monitoring team unveiled the case of selling short measure of petroleum products
by a number of gasoline stations including Baglamukhi Oil Stores in Sano Bharyang, Kathmandu, and three others in Bara district. These fuel refilling centres were using software to cheat the consumers.
NBSM Director General Bishwo Babu Pudasaini said the lawmakers were concerned over the rampant malpractice by petrol pumps. Pudasaini said that the NBSM has sealed the errant gasoline stations and is taking statements from their proprietors.
According to Pudasaini, a NBSM team on Friday sealed Shankar Petrol Pump in Butwal under a similar charge. “The petrol pump has been selling up to 200 ml less oil on every purchase of 10 litre,” he said.
Pudasaini said the NBSM has intensified the market inspection after the malpractice was discovered among petrol pumps. “In the first stage, we have focused our market inspections mainly on fuel stations operating in the Kathmandu Valley, Pokhara and Butwal.”
Last month, a joint market monitoring team led by the Department of Supply Management and Protection of Consumers Interest fined Bhadrakali Oil Store in Gothatar Rs200,000 on charge for giving short measures to its customers. However, the oil store deposited Rs100,000 into the government’s account and started resuming business as usual.
Since the new Consumer Protection Act 2018 came into effect two months ago, the department has started charging an on-the-spot cash penalty against the wrongdoers. The department on Thursday alone, slapped two food outlets in the Valley with cash penalties after the stores were found breaching the standard set by the law.
Of the outlets grilled by the market regulator, Star Meat Product in Shova Bhagwati was fined Rs50,000.
The meat shop failed to maintain the signboard and price list while sausages produced by the shop was also found to be unhygienic, posing a risk to consumers’ health. Similarly, the shop had also been doing its business without taking licence and permanent account number.
Likewise, the department also fined Thapa Shree Kirana Store, a grocery in Budhanilkantha, with cash penalty of Rs5,000. According to the department, the retail shop failed to maintain separate area for the date expired products and for not maintaining an updated price lists.
Yogendra Gauchan, director general of the department, said they charged cash penalty under the new Consumer Protection Act 2018. “Through delegating authority to the senior officers at the department, we are now taking the market inspection rigorously,” Gauchan said.
As of now, the market regulator has slapped cash penalties to five other traders involved in malpractice.
Apart from Bhadrakali Oil Store, two dry fruits sellers, one grocery shopkeeper and a meat seller have been fined Rs5,000 each for selling substandard food items, as per the department.