The Maharashtra government on Thursday said it is reconsidering the controversial transfer of Sanjay Pandey, controller of the Legal Metrology Organisation (LMO). It also said steps are being taken to amend the Legal Metrology Act, to ensure that flat-buyers are not short-changed by builders.
On March 19, the state government had transferred Pandey, who had started a crackdown on errant traders who cheated customers while selling packaged goods. He had also sent notices to builders who had not given carpet area to buyers, as promised to them in the sale deed of their flats. Pandey had even sent a proposal to the state government asking for the enactment of a legislation to punish builders who short-change buyers. Activists had alleged that Pandey was transferred because of pressure mounted by traders and builders.
HT had carried reports on Pandey’s transfer , and prior to that, on the LMO’s crackdown against corrupt milk-packaging units and builders.
On Thursday, Girish Bapat, state minister for food and civil supplies as well as the consumer protection, whose department is the governing authority for the LMO, told HT that the state was reconsidering Pandey’s transfer order. “We are considering retention of Pandey at the same position. Soon, the relevant orders will be issued,” said Bapat.
He also said the government is taking steps to amend the Legal Metrology Act, to safeguard the interests of flat-buyers.
“We have taken comments on the proposed rules from stake-holders which include the builders’ association, municipal commissioner and urban development department. The rules will now be sent to the Central government,” said Bapat.
The amendment – initiated by the LMO – is aimed at ending the ambiguity over carpet area that is given to flat-buyers by developers.
Pandey said, “I will oblige the government’s order as and when it comes.”
The LMO enforces rules related to weights and measures for sale of goods and services to consumers. The LMO has proposed landmark rules that will enable the authorities to measure the carpet area and prosecute errant developers under section 30 of the Legal Metrology Act, 2009. If the rules are sanctioned by the government, your developer could be imprisoned for up to one year, for selling you less carpet area than what was promised in the sale agreement.
The LMO: Scope and duties:
* The legal metrology organisation (LMO), which is under the Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Protection department, is a statutory body that is authorised to take action for consumer grievances regarding overcharging for packed products and wrongly weighed or measured loose commodities, such as food grains.
* To complain: Contact the Controller of Legal Metrology, Maharashtra State, on their control room 2288 6666 (10am to 5.30pm) or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org
* At present, a majority of complaints received by the LMO are about overcharging for milk bags, cold drinks and bottled water. In the last 10 days, the LMO has registered more than 80 cases of overcharging in Mumbai and Thane
* Recently, the LMO also proposed rules under section 30 of the Legal Metrology Act, which will allow you to complain against a developer if he sells you less carpet area than what was mentioned in the sale agreement
* Once the rules are approved, the errant developers will be penalised upto Rs10,000 for the first offence committed by them. For the second offense, the developer can be imprisoned for up to one year