High rate of anomalies in public transport, meat outlets

Kathmandu, June 13

The one-week long intensive market monitoring carried by the government has found that among different offences, consumers are mostly cheated in transportation fare and meat items sold in the market.

The special market inspection carried by the Department of Supply Management and Protection of Consumer Interest (DoSMPCI) throughout last one week caught a number of traders selling rotten and unhygienic meat products and transporters overcharging commuters in public transportation.

“We found that consumers are cheated in almost every sector, including transportation, dairy, fuel, sweets, food items and other daily essentials. However, anti-consumer activities were rampant in public transportation and retail meat shops,” Kumar Prasad Dahal, director general of DoSMPCI, said.

The monitoring team deployed by the DoSMPCI has sealed almost half a dozen meat retail shops across the Valley, including Adhunik Ganga Cold Store and Devi Meat Store of Lalitpur.

Similarly, the government monitoring team has also penalised 120 transporters with a fine of Rs 5,000 each on charge of overcharging the commuters in public transportation.

“While meat outlets were selling inedible meat and were not maintaining hygiene, transporters were not charging commuters as per the government fixed rate,” added Dahal.

The Department of Transport Management (DoTM) had fixed new fare rate for public transportation in city areas.

As per the government fare rate for public transportation, commuters will have to pay minimum fare of Rs 13 (for up to four km) and maximum fare of Rs 24 (for travel above 19 km) in city areas, including Kathmandu Valley. “However, transport entrepreneurs were charging commuters haphazardly,” Dahal informed.

DoSMPCI has also urged people to be self-aware while consuming any products or services in the market and notify the government in case any anomaly is suspected.

“We have already set up a hotline service at the DoSMPCI office where consumers can file their complaints anytime,” added Dahal.

Meanwhile, consumer activists like Madhav Timalsina, president of Consumers’ Right Investigation Forum, said that the government should conduct intensive monitoring in the market throughout the year to

curb ongoing anti-consumer activities.

“While government monitoring is not quite result-oriented, we also have very fragile legal provisions against consumer-related offences,” Timalsina said, adding that the government should amend the Consumer Protection Act as soon as possible to make it contextual.