KATHMANDU, Jan 21: The Department of Commerce, Supplies and Consumer Protection (DoCSCP) on Tuesday slapped a cash fine of Rs 300,000 each against two edible oil producers on charge of raising the prices of their product artificially.
Officials said the DoCSCP slapped a cash fine of Rs 300,000 each against Mahalaxmi Solvent and Refinery Private Limited and Annapurna Vegetable Private Limited in Bara district on charge of extracting high prices for their products. Mahalaxmi Solvent sells edible oil under the ‘Mahalaxmi’ brand and Annapurna Vegetable sells the product under the ‘Amrit’ brand.
Amid growing complaints that prices of edible oils had soared up abnormally, the DoCSCP launched action against the unscrupulous traders who are found cheating consumers. In the past two months, prices of oil in almost all the variants have gone up by around 25 percent.
The DoCSCP Spokesperson Shivaraj Sedhai said the department took action against the companies after finding large variation in the actual production cost and the market price of their product.
The traders and manufacturers of edible oil have been citing the rise in prices of raw materials of oil in the international market as the main cause behind their decision to hike the prices of edible oil in the domestic market. Both wholesalers and retailers have increased the prices of mustard oil, sunflower oil and soybean oil by up to Rs 50 a liter under the same pretext.
In a separate case, the market regulator penalized Machchhindra Oil Mill in Lalitpur-22 with a cash fine of Rs 5,000 for selling its product at an inflated price.
Spokesperson Sedhai said the DoCSCP has kept 16 oil manufacturers under its scrutiny. He said that the Department has been studying prices quoted in the customs declaration form of raw materials imported by these companies, production costs in the factory and the retail prices fixed by the company to ascertain whether the price hike is normal or artificial.