That the Department of Commerce, Supplies and Consumer Protection (DCSCP) has intensified the market monitoring process to deal with irregularities such as supply and sale of substandard and inedible foodstuffs, cartelling and black marketing may have brought cheers to consumers. The government authority has mobilised 10 monitoring teams within the Kathmandu Valley alone in view of the possible increase in market anomalies on the eve of major festivals. The recent confiscation of a huge quantity of expired food and other consumer items from a warehouse in Kathmandu might have prompted the department to take this bold step. A joint team that included representatives of the Nepal Police and the DCSCP had raided the warehouses of a renowned business house. The team found various food brands, shampoo, bathing soaps, sanitisers, etc. being relabelled with new dates. This particular incident clearly signals that there is a nefarious nexus among traders to do whatever they like just for making a profit. Their various fraudulent activities show that they are least concerned about human health.
The department, according to the news carried by this daily Wednesday, has deployed the special teams to conduct market inspections. The subject-wise teams are expected to monitor the market in a more effective manner. They have been mobilised to different locations in order to inspect various items. Traders are often found supplying adulterated and date-expired goods. One team each is being sent to Lalitpur and Bhakatapur districts and seven in Kathmandu daily. Separate teams have been mobilised in Chabahil, Koteshwor and Kapan, Maharajgunj, Budhanilkantha, Tokha, Balaju, Kalanki, New Road and Asan. In its bid to make the market monitoring more result-oriented, its subject-wise teams looking into food items like rice, oil, pulses, sugar, clothes, fruits, vegetables, medicines, petroleum products and meat items. Besides, the department has trained the employees before entrusting them with the responsibility of monitoring the market. Each day, the teams are inspecting more than 25 firms and shops. The market inspection officers are so authorised that they can take action against the wrongdoers on the spot.
The teams are supposed to make sure that consumers are not cheated in terms of price and quality of goods during the festivals. But such seasonal and festival-centric market monitoring efforts may not be able to ensure fair market practices. The department has also strengthened its market monitoring efforts outside the Kathmandu Valley. It has been working together with different bodies, including the district administration offices, State and local governments. In collaboration with the local administration, the department is stepping up market monitoring task across the country to check an array of irregularities. As its fresh move, the department has deployed market inspection officers in all the district administration offices and trained them online to enhance their capacity so that they can carry out their responsibilities in a desirable manner. Instead of making market monitoring a seasonal job, a permanent and vibrant mechanism must be in place to tackle the market aberrations across the country. The government also needs to implement the existing laws in letter and spirit so that all the malpractices can be resolved.