Government launches coordinated inspections to curb black marketeering of essential goodsThe Department of Commerce, Supplies and Consumer Protection Management carried out inspections at 161 firms and penalised 57 in the month of Falgun.
A team from the Metropolitan Crime Division, Teku on Wednesday arrested a person for hoarding one million face masks for a profit.
According to the division, the team swung into action following a tip-off that Yuvaraj Neupane of Gorkha was hoarding the masks at a store in Sanobharyang, Kathmandu.
“Preliminary investigation has revealed that Neupane had brought the masks from China nearly two weeks ago,” said Senior Superintendent Sahakul Thapa, chief of the Metropolitan Crime Division. “He was planning to make a profit by selling the masks at a high price as the market was facing a shortage of masks amidst Covid-19 fears.”
Neupane has been kept in custody at the division while the district administration office will take further action against him, SSP Thapa said.
This is the latest case in a series of raids and arrests as the inspection teams comprising personnel from the District Administration Office, Nepal Police, Department of Commerce, Supplies and Consumer Protection Management, among other agencies concerned, have stepped up the vigilance in the market amidst the growing public complaints of shortages of things like petrol, gas, face masks and sanitisers.
“For the last few days, we are getting numerous complaints about the shortage of petrol, gas, sanitiser, medicines and other daily consumable goods. Acting on tip-offs, we have increased vigilance in the market,” said Janak Raj Dahal, chief of the District Administration Office, Kathmandu. “Currently, Kathmandu Metropolitan City, Nepal Police, District Administration Office, Department of Commerce, Supplies and Consumer Protection Management, and plainclothes officials are involved in the collection of information and inspection.”
The confiscated masks, sanitiser would again be distributed in the market through public health bodies, he added. “Strict action will be taken against such black marketeers.”
However, the government authorities, as well as police officials, have urged the public not to stock goods in panic, assuring that there will not be any shortages in the market in the future.
During a random inspection on Tuesday evening, a joint team of Nepal Oil Corporation and Department of Commerce, Supplies and Consumer Protection Management took action against Maitidevi Petrol Pump for hiding petrol.
“The pump had put up ‘no petrol’ notice. However, we found more than 4,000 litres of petrol during the inspection,” said Dipak Pokharel, inspection officer at the department. “The pump was fined Rs200,000.”
The Department of Commerce, Supplies and Consumer Protection Management carried out inspections at 161 firms in the month of Falgun and took action against 57. “Those firms found engaged in illegal activities were fined around Rs4 million in the past month,” said Pokharel of the inspection department.
According to Senior Superintendent Uttam Raj Subedi, chief of Metropolitan Police Range Kathmandu, they have increased vigilance on gas stores, petrol pumps, and mask and sanitiser distributors for possible black marketeering.
“We will immediately take action against anyone found engaged in creating the artificial shortage of goods in the market for a profit,” said Subedi.