Onus on residents to watch MRP

Pune: It is up to the consumers to ensure they are not being charged more than the maximum retail price () when they buy packaged goods, feel activists.
With effect from January 1, the amended Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) rules have banned dual pricing of the same product.

Recently, Shekar Rao, a techie, last week paid Rs5 extra for a bottle of water — “for cooling” — at the railway station, and so, is sceptical whether these new rules will be strictly implemented.

Rao is not alone in voicing this concern. Vijay Sagar, consumer activist and president of Akhil Bharatiya Grahak Panchayat, is holding meetings with other activists in the city to spread awareness on the new rules and urge citizens to report such discrepancies to local metrology officials. “Consumers should be aware. They should check and complain to the metrology department officials,” said Sagar.

With the Consumer Awareness week to conclude on January 9, Arun Deshpande, chairman of State Consumer Welfare Advisory Committee, said they have highlighted the new rules in their statewide meetings so that citizens are made aware of them. “The amendment should not remain only on paper. It needs to be raised and implemented in letter and spirit,” said Deshpande, who is ready to hold metrology officials to account, if they don‘t act on consumers‘ complaints.

Last June, the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution had approved the amendment, and the metrology officials will conduct surprise checks at grocers, hotels, malls, airports and railway stations.

This also puts a clamp on companies affixing different MRPs on the same product being sold at different places. “No products will be sold with different price tags,” said an LMD official, adding: “Consumers can alert us, and our local offices will take action.”

Meanwhile, Deshpande said consumers can the national consumer complaint cell too, which will forward them to the local LMD office.

Violators will be penalized under section 36 of the Legal Metrology Act — Rs25,000 fine for the first offence, Rs50,000 for the second and Rs1 lakh for the third, which may be paired with a jail term of up to a year.

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