By A Staff Reporter Kathmandu, Sept. 12: Like in the previous years, the government is preparing to operate fair price shops in different parts of the country to stop black marketing and arbitrary rise in the price of essential goods during festivals. As the festivals – mainly Dashain, Tihar and Chhat – are around the corner, the government has decided to set up fair price shops across the nation, including in the Kathmandu Valley from September 17. The shops aim to provide relief to the general people by offering essentials goods at discounted rates, said Urmila KC, joint spokesperson for the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies.
The public enterprises -- Food Management and Trading Company (FMTC) and Salt Trading Corporation (STC) -- will run the integrated fair price shops in coordination with the Ministry, she said. The public entities will run the shops in different places of the Valley, including in Ramshahpath, Thapathali, Kalimati, Jawalakhel, Suryabinayak and Nakkhu, while the FMTC and the STC will operate shops at their offices inside and outside the Valley.
More than three dozen shops would run outside the Kathmandu Valley, she said, adding that they had planned to operate shops in all seven provinces. The FMTC will run fair price shops in its 43 outlets of 39 districts while the STC will also run fair prices from its outlets across the country.
The entities will sell essentials goods, especially rice, pulses, ghee, oil, sugar and salt, at discounted rates for one and a half months. The fair shops will stay open until Chhath, she said. The consumers will get a discount of Rs. 5 per kg on rice, Rs. 2 per kg on salt, Rs. 5 per kg on sugar and Rs.10 per kg on sale of live goat at the shops, she said. The FMTC will sell live goats from its Thapathali depot at discounted rates.
Besides, the FMTC will sell different varieties of rice, wheat and pulses by offering a discount of Rs. 5 per kg. The dairy products of Dairy Development Corporation will also sell from such shops, she said. She added that the ministry had already instructed the public enterprises to set up fair prices properly from the stipulated date.
Information officer at Salt Trading Corporation Kumar Rajbhandari said that the STC would operate fair prices shops in different places across the country. "Whether the STC will sell sugar or not this time depends on the government's approval," Rajbhandari said, adding, "If the government approves the purchase of sugar soon, it can be sold to consumers at discounted price during the festival."
The STC has less than 200 tonnes of sugar in stock while at least around 3,000 tonnes of sugar is required for Dashin, Tihar and Chhat festivals based on the previous year’s sale, he said. The corporation, which imported 20,000 tonnes of sugar for the last Dashain, has run out of stock, and its plan to import more has yet to get nod from the government.
At present, the STC is selling sugar at Rs. 79 per kg through its outlets. But the shopkeepers elsewhere are selling the product at above Rs. 95 per kg. Due to low stock, the STC has been selling only 2 kilograms of sugar per person from its outlets for five months now, he said.