Shopkeepers at Bishaal Bazaar on Sunday closed their stores protesting against an inspection carried out by the Department of Commerce and Supply Management (DoCSM).
DoCSM officials said they found the shops charging customers up to 10 times higher than the cost price. During the inspection, the team found RSA Trisa (shop number 45) charging Rs 3,540 for a jacket
whose cost price was Rs 373.30. It was also found to have priced a suitcase Rs 2,345, against the cost price of Rs 1,700.
Intershop (shop number 44) had priced shirts at Rs 2,250 and Rs 1,200, whose cost prices were just Rs 287 and Rs 187, respectively. Similarly, Readymade Store (shop number 43) was found taking Rs 2,700 for a half-jacket against its cost price of Rs 201. Oakland (shop number 42) charged Rs 1,100 for a jeans and Rs 1,000 for a t-shirt, original prices of which were just Rs 300 and Rs 76, respectively.
However, these were the only stores the government officials were able to inspect. As soon as the monitoring team led by DoCSM Officer Heramba Raj Pokharel started the inspection, the traders pulled down their shutters.
According to Pokharel, members of the Bishaal Bazaar Byapar Sangh (BBBS) and the traders pressured them team to stop the inspection. “But we waited for around two hours expecting the traders to open their shops. We were compelled to halt the inspection after they did not open their stores,” he said. Apparel and accessories some of the products that are in high demand during the festive season. With growing complaints about traders charging exorbitant prices, the department has increased cross-checking of these items. The law allows traders to maintain only 20 percent profit margin.
The traders, however, said they did not obstruct the inspection. BBBS President Kumar Raj Bhandari said the traders just closed their shops as they were “panicked”. He said under-invoicing has given rise to price variations. “So we just urged the inspection team not to compare the sale price with the actual bill,” he said.
The government said it is firm on intensifying market inspection during the festive season. “We will continue the inspection drive aggressively in the days to come no matter what,” said Deepak Subedi, spokesperson for the Ministry of Commerce and Supply.
Last Tuesday too, traders at major shopping areas of the Capital had obstructed the DoCSM’s inspection.