Srinagar, July 26: Hundreds of Fast-moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) distributors are complaining that a slew of problems have been plaguing them for years.
According to the merchants involved in the trade, several basic needs, such as the availability of a single warehouse for all distributors and stockists, are interfering with the efficient operation of their enterprise.
The traders also said that lack of support from the authorities and financial institutions has pushed them to a place where many of their members are on the verge of closing their businesses. Chairman Kashmir Distributors Association, Zahoor Ahmad hundreds of individuals involved in this profession will suffer if the government does not provide a helping hand and handle their problem.
He stated that in recent years, as a result of the economic downturn, numerous enterprises offering perishable and non-perishable commodities have either closed or merged.
He said that, in the aftermath of COVID, expired perishable merchandise worth lakhs of rupees was languishing in their storage and was not welcomed back.
“There is a policy that we have been following where when an item expires, companies accept damaged items, and it is either replaced or repaid. For the past few years the same has not happened and which is putting us in losses,” he said.
He said it is the need of the hour to allot space for warehouses to the stockists and distributors at district levels where government departments like FSSAI etc., can manage and check the authenticity of the products and availability of the products through a single window system.
“Despite being over two thousand distributors and stockists who are providing livelihood to thousands directly and indirectly, we don’t have a unified place or warehouse where everyone can unload their stock, and the process will be streamlined."
"We are scattered all over Kashmir and have to unload our stock in alleys which also causes inconvenience to locals and halts traffic at times. The unified spot in some industrial areas would have also helped the government to keep a check on the quality of products and carry out other formalities,” the members of the association said.
They said in addition to this, for the last many years, most of the stockists and distributors have been living a hard life and are on the verge of closure of their businesses due to the financial crises.
“We appeal to financial institutions, including local banks, to extend a helping hand in the context of repayment of loans and interest so that we don’t have to close our business. We also appeal to the government to take necessary steps in this regard,” Zahoor Ahmad said.
He said that FMCG distributors and stockists in Kashmir are putting all of their assets at risk in order to keep the sector operating on meagre profits.
"We want the government to address our range of issues because the smallest distributor employs at least 10-15 people."
"We are handling peak demand and seasonal swings.On the meagre returns, we are ethically and morally adhering to all legislative compliance as put forth by the GOI, but we do not receive the due support," Zahoor stated.