September 14: The government-owned Food Management and Trading Company Limited is preparing to operate fair-price shops for the upcoming festivals from September 17. Aiming to facilitate the customers during the upcoming Dashain, Tihar and Chhath festivals, the company is preparing to operate fair-price shops at 43 places in 39 districts of the country including Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Lalitpur this year.
According to the information provided by the company, consumers will be able to buy food items including rice, pulses, chickpeas, beans, buckwheat, cooking oil, ghee, flour, sanitizer and goats at a discount rate.
The company will give a discount of Rs 5 per kg on pulses, rice, chickpeas, flour and sunflower oil this year, while the prices of soybean oil, meat and beans have been slashed by Rs 10 per kg, said Sharmila Neupane Subedi, information officer of the company.
The company says that the fair price shops will help in preventing the problem of unnecessary price hike during the festival and interference in the market price. This year, the company is estimated to bring around 3,000 goats for Dashain and Tihar.
In the Kathmandu Valley, the company will operate fair-price at four places including Thapathali, Ramshah Path, Nakkhu and Suryabinayak. The company said that the fair price shops will be operated by adopting all safety measures keeping in mind the physical distance as the threat of Covid-19 pandemic is still there. The company has also been providing goods through online order within the Kathmandu Valley.
Although other daily necessities are easily available in the fair-price shops, sugar does not seem easily available. The company had sent a letter to the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies about eight months ago seeking permission to purchase 10,000 metric tons of sugar for the festivals. However, the letter has been stuck at the Ministry of Finance and the government is yet to give permission to purchase sugar. Due to this, the consumers who go to buy food at affordable prices are more likely to not get sugar.