Even as well-known milk packaging companies take consumer-friendly steps, retailers continue to harass consumers by refusing to supply popular milk brands. For almost a week now, consumers in different parts of the city are not getting popular brands such as Amul, Gokul, Mother Dairy, Mahanand and Warana.
As a result, they are being forced to buy lesser-known brands at higher maximum retail prices (MRPs). The retailers are promoting lesser-known brands because they are paid higher margins by these brands.
Popular milk brands such as Gokul and Mahanand have started printing on their packages that all taxes, transport and cooling charges are included in the MRP. This will leave the retailers little scope to overcharge consumers.
The retailers have been charging consumers Rs 2-5 more than MRPs, calling them ‘cooling’ and ‘transport’ charges. But with the milk brands making it clear that these costs are included in the MRP, consumers have been empowered to oppose the corrupt practices of retailers. To counter this, retailers have curtailed the sale of these brands.
“We have asked retailers to withdraw their boycott of the five brands, but we cannot force someone to sell a particular brand,” said Amit Bhuvad, one of the retailers.
Both Mahanand and Gokul confirmed 5-10% reduction in their daily supply. Mahanand sales have dropped from 3lakh litres to 2.70lakh litres every day, while Gokul sales have reduced by around 20,000 litres daily.
“If retailers continue to stop our supply, what is use of making changes in our packaging?” said a Mahanand official, requesting anonymity. A Gokul official said, “We have given the sample of new packages to the Legal metrology organisation (LMO) and will start using it by the month end.”
Anuradha Deshpande, committee member, Mumbai Grahak Panchayat, said, “Why is government sitting so long on the proposal of allowing sale of other brands through Aarey centres? It’s time the dairy development department acts in interest of end-consumers.”