January 15, 2020 10:10 AM NPT
KATHMANDU, Jan 15: The Department of Commerce, Supplies and Consumer Protection on Monday slapped a fine of Rs 100,000 on Aqua Minerals Nepal for selling 'Aqua Hundred' brand of bottled water without price tag.
Aqua Minerals Nepal is an enterprise under the Dugar Group.
According to the department, needful action was taken against the company after it was found breaching the standards for bottled water business.
Interestingly, the company's misconduct came into the notice of the officials of Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies during a press meet organized by Minister for Industry,
Commerce and Supplies, Lekh Raj Bhatta, on Sunday. The company's product labeling was also not as per the format prescribed by the government.
Along with the cash fine, the department has asked the company to furnish necessary details within three working days, according to Deepak Pokharel, a monitoring officer with the department. "We will take further action against the company for not maintaining proper labeling on its products," he added.
Two years ago, the government enforced a separate directive for processed drinking water production business that requires water bottlers to maintain quality and packaging of the product as prescribed by the Food Act and related regulation.
Timely renewal of the operating licence, maintaining hygiene in external environment at the water processing plants, having adequate infrastructure such as separate water treatment plant, storage facility and hygiene maintained by the factory workers, management of well-equipped laboratory, proper labeling, and maintaining records of standard operating procedures and monitoring process are among the obligations that bottled water companies need to fulfill as per the directive.
The Consumer Protection Act enacted last year has empowered the government authority to impose on the spot cash penalty of Rs 5,000 to Rs 300,000 on firms that are found cheating consumers.
Statistics maintained by the department shows that misconducts in bottled water are rampant mostly during dry season when the demand for the product shoots up.
Meanwhile, the department levied cash penalty of Rs 30,000 on six firms in separate incidents conducted in the past three days. Baruwal Enterprises and Pokharel Kirana Store of Ramkot, Krishna Kirana Pasal of Nagarjun Municipality, Padma Store of Sitapaila, Brothers Store of Harisiddhi and Pramil Food Store of Golfutar were the edibles outlets that were fined Rs 5,000 each for breaching the government standards.