Action yet to be taken against errant Durbarmarg traders

Kathmandu, October 5

Though the government had sealed different branded shops in Durbarmarg for overcharging customers amid much fanfare a month ago, it has not been able to initiate any action against these offenders so far.

Instead of cracking down on such unscrupulous traders as per law, the government has instead allowed them to operate their outlets by merely seeking their clarifications.

A monitoring team led by Minister for Supplies Shiva Kumar Mandal, on September 4, had sealed Durbarmarg-based outlets of foreign brands like Bentley, Puma, Nike and Storeone after these shops were found to be keeping high profit margin on sales of footwear and apparels. These shops were also found to be offering ‘heavy’ festive discount by adding excessive amount to the original cost price of the goods.

During the monitoring, Minister Mandal had even said that action would be taken against traders running these shops at any cost and the government would bring all these unscrupulous traders to the books.

However, the government has failed to take any action against the concerned traders in Durbarmarg and has allowed them to reopen their sealed shops without scrutinising them as per the law. This hints towards the possibility that the government has either bowed down to the pressures from domestic traders or is incapable of initiating action against big traders.

It is to be noted that the domestic traders, including representatives of Nepal Chamber of Commerce (NCC), had constantly put pressure on the government for the sealed shops in Durbarmarg to be reopened.

The Black-marketing and Some Other Social Offences and Punishment Act, 1975 has provisions to either fine or imprison traders involved in the act of black marketing, depending on the nature of the offence. Similarly, the government can even permanently seal the outlets for black marketing activities.

However, Kumar Prasad Dahal, director general of the Department of Supply Management and Protection of Consumers’ Interest (DoSMPCI), said that the procedure to take action against Durbarmarg-based traders was delayed due to the festive public holidays.

“We have received the clarification from the traders whose shops were sealed in Durbarmarg. We will start our further investigation soon,” said Dahal.

Moreover, talking to The Himalayan Times recently, Minister Mandal had vowed that he would file case against the concerned traders in Durbarmarg soon and take action as per the law.

However, the government has not been able to take visible action against these unscrupulous traders despite such commitments from the minister himself.