OCP collects Nu 228,414 in fines from 43 business entities in Thimphu

Despite the repeated reminders by the Office of Consumer Protection (OCP), many shops have been turning a deaf ear by choosing to take advantage of the lockdown to hike the prices of vegetables and grocery items.

From the start of lockdown from 16 January till 10th February 2022, 43 business entities have been imposed penalties amounting to Nu. 228,414.80 for various types of business violations.

From the lockdown till date the OCP received a total of 96 consumer complaints through various channels from which all genuine complaints have been redressed. “The complaints received were mostly regarding hike in prices and there also were grievances shared by the vendors who felt they were cheated by the wholesalers. Not many complaints have been received from the civilians though. The number of business entities penalized will be significantly much higher if common people also lodged complaints,” said Jigme Dorji, the Chief Program Officer of the OCP.

The officer said that besides the hike in prices of vegetables, the prices of the recently imported eggs were also hiked by various vendors and the cases of egg prices being charged beyond the approved rates are starting to surface.

In the view of the current lockdown and the increasing number of unfair trade practices observed, the OCP activated its frontline team in Thimphu Thromde as well as other dzongkhags to carry out daily monitoring of business entities.

In Thimphu thromde alone, the team inspected about 65 business entities on average daily including some repeated visits. The team inspected multiple business entities in total in Thimphu Thromde and the businesses included Fruit and Vegetable(F&V) shops, F&V wholesalers, grocery shops, meat shops, LPG delivery agents, BOD and medical shops.

 In consultation with the Thromde, a farm shop and vegetable shop in Thimphu were closed and disallowed to operate during the lockdown as these business entities repeatedly failed to comply with prescribed rates of vegetables despites warnings and penalties imposed.

 “We have been repeatedly reminding these two shops and even issued a warning but these shops just decided to ignore it and continued selling their goods at hiked prices. So we had no choice but to shut them down during the lockdown,” said the Chief Program Officer.  The officer also said that besides hike in prices, selling of expired or faulty products have also been observed during the lockdown. 

“The OCP has its own market monitoring and surveillance team who kind of act as front-liners by conducting on-site inspection of prices in shops. As for other dzongkhags and gewogs, the surveillance team comprises of dzongkhag officials, gups, Mangmis, tshogpas etc who basically do the same thing the OCP does. We have requested the other dzongkhags to come up with a monitoring team in order to ensure fair trade practices and quality of goods are not compromised during the lockdown,” said Jigme Dorji. The surveillance team shall carry out the functions in routine manner invoking Consumer Protection Act 2012 and Consumer Protection Rules and Regulations 2015 and Rule 95 and 96.

From a report released by the OCP, the market monitoring and surveillance has been activated in every dzongkhags except Gelephu and Tsirang since they are under total lockdown. The essential items are delivered door to door by the frontliners.

As for Mongar and Trashigang, the OCP did not feel the need to activate the surveillance team as they have been marked as green zone and hike in price was unlikely. However, monitoring will be carried out depending on the market situation. The OCP and MOEA has also issued revised selling price of various goods recently.

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One comment

  1. We need ocp office in samdrupcholing dungkhag also la… as here rate is too much high either groceries or garment

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