Govt to turn up heat against errant outlets

The Department of Commerce and Supplies has said that it will file charges directly with the police against business firms and outlets cheating customers or perpetrating other market offences.

The department said that it had been preparing a separate mechanism to file a charge sheet instead of the current practice of registering a case at the District Administration Office or the district court against wrongdoers.

Meanwhile, the department will also carry out regular follow-up inspections to check irregularities in the market amid wide criticism that the government has been weak in controlling them.

Hari Narayan Belbase, director at the monitoring unit of the department, said they were preparing a separate mechanism to prevent market anomalies.

“If any business outlet is found violating the department’s directive, we will file a charge sheet against them at the Regional Police Office and the Hanuman Dhoka Police Unit,” he added. The department said that such firms would be warned once.

Belbase said that quick action against wrongdoers would check growing offences being seen in business. “Strict follow-ups will check rampant sales of substandard products.” According to the department, it has been developing new software to keep tabs on business entities. The software that the department has been developing will maintain a monthly schedule along with updated records of inspections carried out in all the 75 districts.

“It will also keep a timetable to show which agencies are responsible for checking the outlets in a particular location,” said Ratnesh Shashi, an officer at the department.

The software will maintain lists under 12 headings like sweet shop, department store, bottled water business, liquefied petroleum gas and petrol pump, among others.

According to Shashi, the software will define and track the particular areas to be monitored by government bodies like the department itself along with its regional offices, Department of Drug Administration, Chief District Administration and Department of Food Technology and Quality Control. “It will be based on the guideline provisioned by the Joint Market Monitoring Directive.”

The software will also have an alert system which will warn monitoring officers with red, yellow and green signals based on the severity of the offence of the business outlet. “A red signal means the monitoring officer should check out the outlet immediately,” said Shashi.

According to him, the computer programme will also enable the department to retrieve monthly, quarterly and annual data instantly as required. Moreover, the software will allow officials to locate offending businesses using the global positioning system (GPS). Shashi said the system would also provide instant information on the costs incurred in monitoring individual firms and help maintain financial transparency within the department.

Source: eKantipur