Dashain getting more dearer

Kathmandu, September 3: The prices of a majority of the products and services have long been skyrocketing steeply during the festive season. And, the same seems to be repeating in this year’s Dashain festival too. General customers are being forced to shell out a hefty sum for the consumables and other things they need in high quantity for the occasion.

In this light, the government is taking certain measures to ensure a fair price in the marketplaces.  For instance, the Department of Commerce, Supplies and Consumer Protection has deployed as many as eight different teams to keep tabs on the market targeting this festive season though it generally mobilizes only two such teams in other times.

Similarly, around 73 fair price shops across the country have been established to facilitate the customers.  Such shops offer a discount of Rs 5 to 10 in a kg rice, Rs 10 in a kg of mutton, Rs 10 in a kg of beans and buckwheat each, Rs 2 in a kg of salt, Rs 5 in a sugar, Rs 50 in a kg of ghee and Rs 10 in a kg of paneer.

However, such attempts on the part of the government have failed to pay off.  The increased monitoring activities are not being effective enough to curb the rampant unscrupulous activities in the marker places. In the same way, the number of fair price outlets seems to be too small to serve a large number of general customers.

Compared to the last year, the prices of a majority of daily consumables this year have shot up more steeply.   For example, a sack of rice (20 kg) has now become dearer by Rs 100 to Rs 200 compared to the last year. Similarly, the price of a kg of mutton this year is Rs 1,300 which was just Rs 1,100 last year.  

Traders ascribe the hike in the price of mutton to the decision on the part of the government to ban the import of goats from India.  “The domestic supply of goats is not sufficient to meet their increasing demand, especially during Dashain. So, the cost of mutton has, not surprisingly, gone up.”

This year, customers are also currently being compelled to pay as exorbitant as Rs 95 to Rs 120 for a kg of onions. The wholesale price of this particular vegetable has increased drastically within a month—from Rs 40 per kg to Rs 100—due to price hikes in India.

During its recent monitoring, the Commerce, Supply and Consumer Protection Department also found 350 sacks of onion hidden in Kalimati Vegetables and Fruits Market. Some unscrupulous traders were hiding the products with a motive to sell them in the black market.