Veg wholesalers ask govt to monitor retail market as well
KATHMANDU, Aug 23: Normal trading resumed at Kalimati Fruits and Vegetables Market in Kathmandu on Wednesday.
Though traders had threatened to close the market until their demands are addressed, most of the traders returned to the market.
"We returned to the market as we have realized that our decision will cause inconvenience to general public. That is why chose to keep aside the monitoring issue and resumed normal trading activity," Khom Prasad Ghimire, president of Federation of Fruits & Vegetable Entrepreneurs Nepal.
The market resumed normal trading on Wednesday. However, supply of vegetables to the market fell to 450 tons from average daily supplies of around 700 tons.
Traders took the decision to resume normal trading activity after holding a meeting with government officials. In the meeting, representatives of traders expressed commitment to start formal dialogue with the government and provide all documents sought by the government authorities.
“Our meeting with officials from the Department of Commerce, Supply and Protection of Consumers, and Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development was positive,” Ghimire said, adding that no agreement as such has been signed.
Ghimire said that the government has to work with traders to regulate the market. He also said that the federation has also asked the government officials to monitor retail market as well. "As most of the consumers buy vegetables from retail market, it is equally important to monitor retail market," he added.
Meanwhile, the government has formed a five-member committee to resolve problems created by cartel of vegetable traders. The committee, which is led by Navaraj Dhakal, the spokesperson for Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies, has been asked to submit recommendation to sort out the problem within a week. Tej Bahadur Subedi, the spokesperson for agriculture ministry, Tejendra Prasad Poudel, executive director of Kalimati Fruits and Vegetables Market Development Board, Yogendra Gauchan, director general of Department of Supplies, and a representative from Nepal Police are the other members of the committee.
NO ACTION AGAINST TRADERS LEASING OUT STALLS TO OTHERS
The government has failed to initiate action against 99 traders of Kalimati vegetables market that were found unlawfully renting stalls designated to them to others, charging exorbitant rates.
A surprise monitoring of the market conducted by Minister for Agriculture & Livestock Development, Chakra Pani Khanal on June 14 had found that 120 other traders were sharing their stalls with others, charging high rental rates. Likewise, 209 others were found to be flouting rules and regulations of the board.
As per the instruction of the minister, the board had classified traders into four groups -- Red, Blue, Yellow and White -- to initiate action against them. Traders who were renting their stalls to others were put into Red group, and the board had decided to scrap their stall license.
The process had come to a halt after 24 traders challenged the decision in the court of law. However, the court refused to stay the board's decision, said Tejendra Prasad Poudel, executive director of the board.
"We have already completed the process of seeking clarification from the traders. We will now take needful action against them," he added.