Sunday, 23 June, 2024

Valley retailers seek passes to run their shops for fixed hours


By Laxman Kafle

Kathmandu, Mar. 29: Retailers in the Kathmandu Valley said that they were unable to open shops selling essential goods as per the direction of the government in absence of special passes issued for individual traders as special service providers.
“The traders who are willing to open retail and wholesale business of essential goods adopting the precaution of COVID-19 based on government direction have failed to open shops even for a certain period due to lack of proper arrangement by the local administration,” said Raj Kumar Shrestha, president of Nepal Retailers’ Association.
The traders who are running retail shops of essential goods from their own houses and others who are operating shops staying in the same house only are opening their outlets for a certain period, he said.
In the fear of coronavirus, consumers have been compelled to walk a distance looking for shops which are open to purchase their daily needs due to closure of shops nearby their areas, he told The Rising Nepal.
The government has directed the retailers and traders to run the business of essential goods and supply everyday goods to the market even during the lockdown period.
The traders closed their shops and businesses after the government announced the countryside lockdown for a week to prevent and control the spread of COVID-19 effective from Tuesday morning.
“We are requesting the Chief District Officer, the government officials under the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies and local administration to provide special passes for individuals to open their shops. But it could not materialize so far. So, only few shops are providing services to the consumers by selling goods for a certain period either in the morning or evening time,” he said.
The passes for the venders are a must to bring goods from wholesalers adopting precautions, he said, adding that there would be a problem for consumers to buy goods after their stocks finished as there is no situation to bring goods from wholesalers in this situation.
There would be no problem for the retail shops to sell everyday goods such as salt, sugar, oil, lintels and rice for a week as they have the stock to meet the demand for at least one week.
He, however, said that there would be shortage of goods in the retail market after a week if the government was unable to issue passes for traders to obtain goods from the wholesalers.
The stock of junk foods such as noodles, biscuit at the retail shops is depleting, he said.
There are more than 50,000 retail shops in the Kathmandu Valley.
He said that the government should think immediately to run the retail and wholesale market for certain hours by adopting effective measures.
Director General at the Department of Commerce, Supply and Consumer Protection Netra Prasad Subedi acknowledged that there was problem to run retail shops inside the ring road areas due to lockdown and the traders were asking for passes to run their shops of essential goods.
There is no problem for the consumers till date to purchase goods from the retail shops as limited shops are opening for a certain period following the direction of the government.
“We have to move ahead with a plan to open retail and wholesale shops for supplying essential goods to the consumers during the lockdown,” he said.
Stating that the retailers and wholesalers were asking for passes to reach shops from their residential area, he said that there was no possibility to issue passes for the two-wheeler vehicles in the name of easing the supply of essential goods as the market would be crowded.
“We are serious to open at least 2/4 shops for certain hours for the benefit of consumers. So, we are requesting the traders to provide list of traders for issuing passes in specific areas,” he said.
At present, there is a problem in the sales of vegetables and milk in the market due to lack of supply of those goods from outside the Valley.
According to him, the department and other government agencies doing homework to ease the supply of vegetables and milk to Kathmandu Valley to meet the demand in this critical period.
The local administration has been issuing passes for the vehicles which are being used for transporting everyday goods along with vegetables in the market, he said.