Shopkeepers fined for refusing to cooperate with inspection teamsAmong the disobedient merchants were storeowners at Ranjana Mall, New Road and BG Mall, Gongabu.
Shopkeepers who refused to cooperate with government monitoring teams when they came to conduct market inspections have each been fined Rs20,000 to Rs50,000, the Department of Commerce, Supply and Consumer Protection Management said.
Among the disobedient merchants were storekeepers at Ranjana Mall, New Road and BG Mall, Gongabu. While the traders at Ranjana Mall besieged the inspection team and prevented them from doing their work, storeowners at BG Mall pulled down their shutters and fled at the arrival of the officials.
Yogendra Gauchan, director general of the department, said that four garment shops at Ranjana Mall were fined Rs50,000 each for violating government rules. “Seven stores at BG Mall were fined Rs20,000 each for not cooperating with the market inspection team,” said Gauchan.
The department conducted market inspections at the shopping malls from September 26-October 5 in a bid to prevent business malpractices during the annual Dashain shopping binge. Apart from edibles, readymade garments are the fastest selling items during the festive season.
“The traders have a disobedient attitude and think they can do whatever they want,” said Gauchan, adding that clothing stores, in particular, overcharge their customers when there is high demand for their products.
The Black Market and Other Social Offence and Penalty Act allows traders to add a 20 percent mark-up, unscrupulous traders hike prices arbitrarily during the festival rush.
Similar incidents occurred when authorities swooped on shops on Durbar Marg in the past. This year the department concentrated on shops selling garments, food items, vegetables and meat and business malls, and did not check outlets on Durbar Marg, Gauchan said.
According to him, they collected fines totalling Rs1.16 million in the Kathmandu Valley when they conducted inspections during the 10-day period before Dashain.
Government teams collected fines amounting to Rs425,000 from diners on Prithvi Highway. “Among the 21 roadside eateries that were checked, 12 were penalised for overcharging customers, selling substandard products and failing to maintain proper hygiene,” said Gauchan.
According to the department, it collected fines totalling Rs3.33 million during market inspections in the past two months. Among the 522 business outlets officials checked, 210 were fined on the spot.
The department said it was preparing to renew market inspections before the approaching Tihar festival. “We will conduct aggressive market monitoring for the festival in the next few days,” he said.
Sweets, dried fruits, fresh fruits, electric lights, decorative items, readymade garments and fresh flowers are among the fastest selling products during Tihar.