Himalayan News Service

Mahendranagar, May 23:

Customers are being fooled by the lack of monitoring and evaluation, of scales used in weighing machines in rural areas of far-western development zone, by the office of Quality Control and Measurement, Dhangadhi. The office sends quality control and monitoring teams to hilly districts of the area once a year, but insecurity and geographical location of these areas has made monitoring next to impossible. As a result, customers are being hoodwinked with the use of old measuring scales and weights for many years. The inspection team has not been able to reach even the headquarters of Bajura and Accham for the past four years.

Dal Jeet Bohra, a local businessman in Syadi-6 of Bajhang, was unaware about the faulty scales until he bought 20 kg of ghee in the village. When he took the same ghee to sell in the bazaar, he found out that it was just 18 kg and knew that the five kg weight had been reduced to 4.5 kg.

Though he faced a loss in ghee, he makes a great deal of profit in the transactions of salt, sugar, paddy, wheat, flour and lentils, when customers lose half a kg in every purchase worth five kg. He said, "The scales that I had been using for years had decreased in weight due to rust and continuous use. Businessmen in rural areas have scales older than mine and I am sure they have decreased more." Employees at the quality control office said that it is impossible for them to monitor each and every shop and that businessmen do not come to the headquarters for inspection. The office regularly monitors scales used by businessmen of Khalanga in Dadeldhura, Gothalapani in Baitadi, Siliguri and Rajpur of Doti, Khalanga in Darchula, Saanfebagar and Mangalsen in Accham, Martadi in Bajura and Chainpur in Bajhang.

Officials said that 500 mg weight is lost in every 100 gm weight in a year and during their inspection, they add iron to a weight to update it. Padam Kalauni, assistant inspector, said, "Some businessmen take out the added iron by melting it and keep on fooling customers until the next inspection. We do not have resources to check the measurement scales every month." He added that though there is a quality control office in Mahendranagar, only the quality control office at Dhangadhi has been doing regular work which has increased the workload of employees. Due to this, their work is not very effective. There are only 15 employees in the office and only one mobile team. Customers said that the office should establish small quality control units in districts as local businessmen bring in erroneous scales, weights and metres from India. With the establishment of these units, regular monitoring would be easy and effective, they added.