Kathmandu, July 19
The Department of Commerce, Supplies and Consumers Protection today inspected and initiated immediate action against 19 traders at the Kalimati Fruits and Vegetable Market and Balkhu Fruits and Vegetable Market.
Two teams were deployed by the department at 4:00am for inspection at the two markets which were led by Division Officers Deepak Pokhrel and Pawan Pyakurel.
Among the 19 traders, 11 are from the Balkhu market and eight from the Kalimati market. They have been penalised with a fine ranging from Rs 5,000 to Rs 20,000. According to Pokhrel, they took action against traders who were selling fruits and vegetables at a higher price compared to other stalls inside the same market and traders who were unable to show purchase receipts.
According to Pokhrel, the traders had hiked the price of vegetables citing the recent floods and landslides. “The traders told us vegetable supply had declined as the recent floods and landslides had affected production and roads were blocked for transportation,” he said. “However, they couldn’t prove that supply had actually declined. So, action has been taken against them based on the Consumers Protection Act 2018.”
Meanwhile, traders have also promised to lower the prices soon after supply becomes regular. Pokhrel, however, said that the roads that had been blocked earlier have already been opened and vegetables are being transported without any hassles, so there was no reason for price hike in fruits and vegetables.
“We decided to inspect the markets because the vegetables had become expensive for no plausible reason that we could think of,” he added.
The traders have been directed to be present at the department with all the required documents within seven days. And if they are found guilty then either a case will be filed against them at the court or they will be fined as per the Consumers Protection Act immediately, Pokhrel added.
Prior to this, the department had inspected both the markets last year too and listed the names of all the wrongdoers. However, no strict action was taken during that time.
Although the department has been claiming that they are conducting regular market monitoring and taking action against the wrongdoers, consumers continue to be deceived by the traders.
A version of this article appears in print on July 20, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.