Karnataka government to crack down on water bottling firms
By Christin Mathew Philip | Express News Service | Published: 19th May 2017 04:53 AM |
BENGALURU: Water bottling companies could soon find themselves in troubled waters. The state legal metrology department, which recently conducted surprise checks in shopping malls, discovered that 500ml bottled water is being sold for as high as Rs 40, twice the average cost of a 1 litre bottle. The department is planning to crack down on bottling companies for trying to circumvent regulations.
In a bid to evade action, manufacturers have the inflated MRP printed on bottles sold at shopping malls, multiplexes, airports among other such commercial establishments. The department has decided to file cases against water bottle manufactures in the consumer court under unfair trade practices of Consumer Protection Act.
Legal metrology department officials said price printed on the bottles differed at places due to the nexus between manufactures and commercial establishments to evade MRP rules and to fleece customers. The legal metrology department booked 270 cases and seized 299 water bottles for inflated MRPs during a two-day raid conducted at 1,169 outlets across the state on May 4 and 5.
“We have also found that in places like shopping malls and multiplexes, packaged food items, including water bottles, were being sold at higher rates than in other places. But we could not take action against those vendors because they claimed they were selling at MRP printed on bottles which is legal,” said a senior official of the the department.
“We have collected details of manufactures who put different prices on bottled water and other beverages supplied to malls and multiplexes. We will file cases against violators in consumer courts in a week,” the official added.
The department has also received complaints that packaged items, including bottled water, being sold at Kempegowda International Airport too are overpriced. “There is no exception for airports from MRP rules,” said another official.
Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan recently said bottled water should be sold at same MRP rates at airports, hotels and malls. He directed states to end the practice of dual MRPs in malls, multiplexes, stadiums, airports and other places.
Some vendors claim that they sell products, including water bottles, at inflated rates because of cooling charges, high rent and air-conditioned services etc.
For complaints, consumers can contact legal metrology department at 080-2253500,2260554 or write to firstname.lastname@example.org