Sunday, October 24, 2010

In Pokhara: Unregulated Changrya Market!

Last week, I dropped by Pokhara while on my way to Syangja for Dashain festival. Here are some pics taken from my cellphone. While in Pokhara, I stayed in a village with my friend, Nirmal Adhikari.

In this combo pic, the first vertical two are of Mt. Machhaphuchhare as seen from Pokhara airport. The other half is of a local goat/changrya market. One of the interesting, and baffling, things about this market is that prices of changryas were pre-fixed without any standard benchmark. Changryas were stocked in slots separated by bamboos. Each slot had changryas of different height and weight. The seller used to lift them up and give price quote that was based purely on his whim and (biased) judgment. Also, transactions took place without any paper trail. No sales tax/VAT collected! One can only imagine how much tax rupees are leaked from this kind of unorganized markets. Depending on the arbitrary pricing methodology of the seller, the cost of one changrya was between NRs 8,000 and NRs 15,000. It was purely a monopoly (or duopoly) market and consumers were basically price-takers. No haggling. It seemed like there was strong barriers to entry. If they sold 550 changrays in a day, then tax leakage (assuming 13% VAT) would be around NRs 822,250. That’s from one such market. Suppose there are 25 such markets across the country. The estimated tax leakage would be NRs 20,556,250. Now, that’s more than enough to employ about 205,562 unemployed rural people for a day (assuming NRs 100 per day for unskilled labor to construct irrigation canal, dirt roads, afforestation, etc.) under rural employment program like in India. So…

This one is a combo of four pics: sunset and dusk (taken from my friend’s house); a biogas plant in my friend’s house (that’s sustainability practiced at individual level!); and a changrya before his last breath!

Finally, that’s what happens when you mix Sprite and Black Label! :)