Unchecked prices hold hungry Nepal to ransom
Apr 29, 2015
KATHMANDU: The Nestle packet of powdered milk — fresh milk not available in most of the city — has Rs 212 printed as MRP. But a sticker hurriedly pasted on the pouch declares the price to be Rs 400.
Staggering under the weight of death and destruction wreaked by the earthquake, Nepal's being pushed into a new crisis by hoarders and black marketers. Retailers, wholesalers, taxi owners, rickshaw pullers, small hoteliers — everyone's charging a ransom; no one seems to be in a position to rein them in.
The home ministry's threatened "strong" action against those fleecing, "creating artificial shortage". But on the ground there's no respite. "A taxi driver asked me for Rs 5,000 from the airport to Thamel, normally a Rs 800-ride," said businessman Bikram Shrestha.
Vegetable prices have shot up, by 50% even. Meat is expensive in the few places it's available. Nepal's chief secretary Lila Mani Paudel said, "I've issued instructions to check stocks for easy availability of goods and punish those creating problems." State agencies have come together to tackle the issue. Upendra Kanta Aryal, IG Nepal Police, said he'd ordered police to punish wrongdoers. Officials said as there's no shortage of fuel there's no reason for travel to suddenly become so costly with taxis and buses charging astronomical rates.
In the capital, sections continue to suffer. People thronging shops for biscuits, bottled water, noodles and chiwda, return home empty-handed, complained a housewife. Retailers, on their part, said the fault lay with distributors and wholesalers, who weren't releasing adequate amounts of essentials. The big players, in turn, say supply lines had choked.
After the 1934 earthquake, then PM Jung Bahadur Rana had proclaimed anyone caught hoarding would be beheaded. Many now would be happy to have Rana return from the grave.
Dinesh Gupta•32664•Influencer Moderator Wordsmith •goa•
The earthquake shows up humanity at its best and its worst simultaneously.On the one hand,people and governments are pouring in billions of dollars worth of help for the affected people and on the other hand black marketeers are making a killing!
Bhaskar•5285•Influencer Moderator Wordsmith • Dinesh Gupta•
These things happen everywhere in the times of crisis. The solution lies in rebuilding of infrastructure quickly.
Thank you for your endorsement and for letting me know.The Nepal government will have to put profiteering by unscrupulous exploiters of this mammoth tragedy by a heavy hand.Shoot them if necessary.