Siraha, May 6 Police in Siraha have arrested a trader for selling cement to make a killing. Acting on a tip-off, a team from Mirchaiya Area Police Office arrested Bhagya Bidhata Iron Stores owner Raj Kumar Magar in Mirchaiya Municipality with 10 bags of cement he had sold at an unreasonably high price this morning. “We arrested him after he was found to be selling cement worth 760 rupees per bag charging as 100 rupees more for each bag,” said DSP Santu Jayasawal of Area Police Office. “When asked, he said had sold the commodity at 800 rupees per bag, but he had indeed charged 860 rupees a bag,” said the DSP. Magar is said to have bought 350 bags of cement from a Janakpur-based trader Raj Kumar Jain on May 3 at 760 rupees per bag. After 10 bags were sold at excessive price today, police, in the presence of representatives of the ward office and local chapter of the chamber of commerce and industry, sealed the godown with the remaining 340 bags of cement. Meanwhile, it is said that Maruti brand cement is being sold at up to Rs 1,000 per bag in different markets in Siraha now. Golbazaar Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chairperson Bharat Agrawal said he too had heard complaints of cement traders fleecing customers taking advantage of the lockdown. Meanwhile, cement traders have attributed the high price of the commodity to the high purchasing cost and transportation and other expenses. “We have to also take industry staffers on our good side to seal the deal, which naturally pushes up our cost. And it’s not unnatural to keep a margin of 100 to 150 rupees per bag,” said a trader on condition of anonymity.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on May 7, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.