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Friday, Nov 22, 2019

30 Gurugram retailers fined in a year for overpricing packaged food

“The violators include both small and big retailers, who often overcharge on the packaged products for which the maximum retail price (MRP) has already been marked,” said Ajay Dahiya, metrology inspector.

gurugram Updated: Aug 31, 2019 21:18 IST
Archana Mishra
Archana Mishra
Hindustan Times, Gurugram
The legal metrology department, over the last one year, has penalised over 30 retailers in the city for overpricing packaged commodities, such as aerated drinks, biscuits, milk, and buttermilk packets, and collected over Rs 2 lakh in fines.
The legal metrology department, over the last one year, has penalised over 30 retailers in the city for overpricing packaged commodities, such as aerated drinks, biscuits, milk, and buttermilk packets, and collected over Rs 2 lakh in fines.(Yogendra Kumar/HT PHOTO)
         

The legal metrology department, over the last one year, has penalised over 30 retailers in the city for overpricing packaged commodities, such as aerated drinks, biscuits, milk, and buttermilk packets, and collected over Rs 2 lakh in fines.

“The violators include both small and big retailers, who often overcharge on the packaged products for which the maximum retail price (MRP) has already been marked,” said Ajay Dahiya, metrology inspector, who is authorised to inspect and penalise stores across the district, under the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules 2011.

The metrology department falls under the ministry of consumer affairs, food, and public distribution, to safeguard consumers’ interest by ensuring the accuracy of the commodities, in terms of weight, measure and packaging.

“The purpose of the inspection is to address the issue of overcharging, fraud by tampering weights and measures used by the shopowners and violation of packaging norms,” said Dahiya, who acts on complaints filed by the citizens, tip-offs and day-to-day inspection.

There are certain declarations on the packaged items that are taken into consideration during the inspection at stores operated by small shopkeepers, retailers, suppliers or wholesalers. It includes the month and year of manufacture, MRP, expiry, contact no of the manufacturer, packer, generic name of the commodity and the net quantity in terms of standard unit weight or measure.

“Overpricing and selling the commodity even after it is past its expiry date, are the major issues. Often, we get complaints of aerated drinks and milk packets being sold at one or two rupees higher than the MRP,” said Siddharth Sharma, assistant controller, legal metrology, who is in charge of six districts.

According to Sharma, the department in Gurugram receives almost 100 complaints a year. “Compared to the rest of Haryana, we get more complaints in Gurugram because of the population density. Not many people know about the department so sometimes, the complaints are filed at the Saral Kendra or with the central or state government. If it concerns Gurugram, it is then forwarded to us,” said Sharma.

According to the officials, the department is entitled to implement nine acts and rules — The Legal Metrology Act, 2009, The Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules 2011, The Legal Metrology (General ) Rules 2011, The Legal Metrology (Approval of Models) Rules 2011, The Legal Metrology (National Standards) Rules, 2011, The Indian Institute of Legal Metrology Rules 2011, The Chandigarh Legal Metrology (Enforcement) Rules 2011, The Legal Metrology (Govt. Approved Test Centres) Rules 2013.

It also authorises the department to check the equipment used to weigh and measure commodities, used for commercial purposes, such as beam scale, electronic scale, bullion weights, cast-iron weights, fuel dispensers used in petrol pumps and storage tanks, among others.

“As per the Act for different weight and measurements, a stamping fee is charged and it is valid only for a year,” said Dahiya. In last one year, the department has penalised 28 defaulters, as the verification and stamping of weighing and measuring instruments were due, and have collected a fine of Rs 1,78,500.

“The department is also entitled to issues licences to manufacturers who deal in weighing and measuring instruments. But, it is handled by our department at the state and central levels,” said Sharma.