It’s that time of the year again when heat drives citizens to hunt for shade and places to buy a drink and get some reprieve from the scorching heat.
Come summer, shops make the best of people’s exhaustion from being under the sun and charge extra on ice creams and soft drinks. Even beer sales shoot up in summer, and those who go to bars seldom question the management about being charged more that the prescribed Maximum Retail Price (MRP).
What is unknown to customers is that both instances can lead to shops and establishments being fined heavily, but indifference and lack of knowledge on the issue allows such illegal sale. “The cooling charges, which is mostly mentioned as the reason behind charging more for soft drinks and ice creams, or even beer, is illegal and bound to be fined,” said RP Thakur, controller of Legal Metrology.
Many customers in the city, ranging from students to private employees, stop for a quick drink at times in summer, and have to shell out more than the MRP on their purchases. “Shop owners know that due to the heat, most won’t bother arguing for Rs 1 or Rs 2. And when it comes to beer, bar managements are simply rude when asked about the price,” said Vishal Pratap Singh, an MNC employee.
Some managements in bars simply sell alcohol in loose, and if the quantity of liquor being served is not mentioned, there is no way of finding out if the owners are are charging more.
Thakur said, “But if the amount of liquor is printed in ml beside the price, then the quantity can definitely be measured, and bars can be penalised if found guilty,” he explained.
Statistics with the legal metrology department reveal that since 2009, the number of cases registered by them pertaining to items like cold drinks and ice creams have increased. From 412 cases booked in 2009, the number shot up to 732 cases in 2013 till Jan in the state. And under the same category, in Hyderabad, 39 cases were booked between Apr 2012 to Jan 2013. In the same period, 176 cases were booked at sweets shops.