With the intention of curbing the growing menace of overcharging for milk in Mumbai, the Legal Metrology Organisation (LMO) has sought the intervention of the state’s dairy development department.
For the past three weeks, the LMO has been cracking down on errant shopkeepers who charge consumers more than the maximum retail price (MRP) for milk packets, cold drinks and bottled water. Of this, overcharging for milk packets is most frequently reported, with shopkeepers charging Rs 2-10 extra for a litre of milk.
Last week, officials registered more than 170 complaints, and complaints continue to pour in, mostly against the same shopkeepers. Analysing the nature of complaints, the LMO has observed that overcharging occurs only on select brands, and that distributors and retailers may be overcharging because they do not get sufficient commission from certain milk-packaging companies.
The companies give a commission of Rs 3-4 to distributors, of which the latter give a share to the dealers and retailers.
“The root cause of overcharging is the varying margins offered by milk packaging companies to distributors and retailers. Thus, the retailers try to make extra profit by overcharging consumers on brands which are not giving them sufficient margin,” said Sanjay Pandey, controller of the LMO.
The LMO has now asked the dairy development to determine the margins given to distributors and retailers. “If the commission for petroleum products can be determined, then why not for milk? After all, both are essential commodities,” said Pandey.
YE Kerure, dairy development commissioner, said, “We only determine the rate for government milk packaging companies. We are not authorised to fix the margins for private players or the commission they give distributors.”
How to complain
Consumers can complain to the LMO by calling the LMO control room at 2288 6666 (10am to 5.30pm) or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also lodge complaints, and discuss the matter on the Facebook page MRP Complaints.