Kathmandu, May 4

The Department of Commerce and Supply Management yesterday filed a case of black-marketing against Samakhusi based ‘Mahalaxmi petrol pump,’ which was found selling adulterated gasoline by mixing water in petrol.

It also took action against a couple of medicine suppliers yesterday for selling masks and sanitisers at more than 20 per cent of the maximum retail price.

Consumers have been constantly complaining about being cheated by small and large enterprises after the nationwide lockdown was imposed in a bid to contain the spread of COVID-19.

The DoCSM has claimed it took action against around 50 various business firms inside Kathmandu Valley during the lockdown until yesterday.

Action was taken for different kinds of offenses such as hiking price, adulterating various products, and black-marketing.

The DoCSM said they had been raiding all kinds of large and medium enterprises, firms, shops, petrol pumps or whatever the consumers demand to maintain stock and ensure smooth supply and regular prices of essential goods and products.

A few days ago, the DoCSM had raided Tangal based Bhatbhetini Supermarket and found that it charging more than the market price on edible goods. The DoCSM later fined the store Rs 300,000. The same fine was slapped on Kasthamandap Khadya Udhyog for selling date-expired edible goods.

Netra Prasad Subedi, director general of DoCSM said that they normally fined the erring enterprises if they were found to be selling goods at prices exceeding the fixed maximum retail price.

“But, we have also recently started fining such business firms on the charge of black-marketing if they are found holding the products from the public, but selling them to some particular people at much higher price,” Subedi said.

The public can complain about the hiked price or black-marketing to the authorities by dialling 1137. The DoCSM authorities however said that normally such callers do not provide authentic information as the majority of shops they raid have not hiked the price to the level that they can be fined.

Until yesterday, around 120 such phone calls were made during the lockdown, but only around 50 were found violating the provisions.

Subedi informed that normally they get complaints about hiked price in cooking gas, but these days the complaints are about retailers who sell edible goods.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on May 5, 2020 of The Himalayan Times.