Govt bid to bring down sugar price

KATHMANDU: Skyrocketing price of sugar has forced the government to intervene in the market and the market has started selling sugar at a lower price through Salt Trading Corporation (STC) from Monday. However, consumers are not satisfied with the distribution channel applied by STC and they are not really sure that this action will reduce the price.

STC does not have enough dealers to cover localities

in Kathmandu Valley, said New Baneshwor resident Kamala Pokhrel. “If STC wants to give benefits to consumers it should have ample dealers,” she said. STC dealer distribution does not match the number of consumers, she added.

STC has appointed 158 dealers for Kathmandu valley, home to over 3.2 million people. Apart from this, STC has eight mobile shops for inner locales of Kathmandu Metropolitan City and Lalitpur Sub-metropolitan City.

“Our targets are low and medium-income families and the response is

good,” said Bhagwati

Rana, division manager of STC’s Bagamati zonal office in response to The Himalayan Times’ query.

Dealers themselves are satisfied with the distribution channel. “We are 10 dealers in Lalitpur Sub-Metropolitan City which has over 7,00,000 population,” said Buddhidhar Shrestha, a dealer at Mangal Bazaar.

STC distribution channel should be increased to

facilitate more people,

he added. “Patan needs at least 35 dealers — covering 20,000 people each,” he said.

STC’s campaign has some impact in the market. The market price of sugar has reduced from Rs 60/kg to 56/kg within a week. STC has since yesterday been distributing 1kg sugar at Rs 53 through dealers and mobile shops. “We have been successful in controlling the market price,” said Rana. It will reduce the market price to Rs 53 per kg, she hoped.

The Department of Commerce (DoC) echoed Rana. “We have got positive results from the market,” said

Dr Khila Nath Bastakoti, director, “Without market intervention we cannot influence price.” DoC is planning to influence market prices in other consumer items like lentils and rice. The price of rice and lentils has increased by 40 and 18 per cent since May this year.