UDAYAPUR, Oct 9: Shopkeepers and businesspersons shut down Katari bazaar, the second biggest market of Udayapur district on Monday, protesting against the 'unexpected' market inspection by the authorities right ahead of the Dashain and Tihar festivals.
Shopkeepers vented their ire against the local administration which began the market inspection from Sunday. The inspection was conducted in coordination with the Area Administration Office (AAO), Area Police Office (APO), Armed Police Force Base Camp, Udayapur Chamber of Commerce and Industry (UCCI) and Katari Municipality. Dhruba Kumar Shrestha, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) at the APO, Katari, informed Republica that the shopkeepers closed the market when the market inspection was being conducted 'to ensure that no consumer gets deceived'.
The purpose of the inspection was to seize expired goods, and monitor the entrepreneurs without PAN and VAT registration. According to DSP Shrestha, UCCI itself is provoking the shopkeepers for shutting down the markets. "We just executed the orders from the higher authorities and conducted the inspection for the welfare of the consumers," said DSP Shrestha, adding, "But the shopkeepers have troubled the locals even more by shutting down the markets ahead of the major festivals."
Locals have accused the shopkeepers of trying to run a black market. Sunil Paudyal, chief of AAO said that almost half the market was inspected on Sunday. However, the other shops were closed from the next morning.
Meanwhile, the shopkeepers have stated that the inspection team breached laws in the name of market monitoring. Pushkar Khadka, chairperson of UCCI, informed Republica that shopkeepers were given unnecessary torture in the name of inspection, which compelled them to take action against them. People from Khotang, Okhaldhunga, Solukhumbu and Udayapur come to Katari for shopping. The local administration intensified the inspection after the consumers complained of getting expired and damaged goods from most of the markets.
Shopkeepers were irked when the team confiscated the goods without price tags, date of manufacture and labels. According to DSP Shrestha, efforts are underway to open the market by holding discussions with the consumers and shopkeepers.