KOCHI: With Onam season just round the corner and Malayalis set to loosen their purse strings for festival purchases, the Legal Metrology Department has decided to mobilise its squads to prevent fleecing of consumers by traders. The department will set up special squads and help desks, which will function round-the-clock during Onam days.R Ram Mohan, Deputy Controller, Legal Metrology, Ernakulam, said special squads will be formed in the next couple of days.
"It is during Onam season shopping becomes active and consumers often become targets of traders who flout norms. Apart from a 24-hour control room and a mobile help desk, enforcement squads will be formed to conduct inspections in markets to ensure goods are sold at the right prie. The squads will also make sure the traders don't tamper with the weighing machines.
The mobile help desk will conduct patrolling and also spread awareness among the public about the possible fleecing by traders," he said.If any malpractice in terms of quantity, pricing, GST rebate come to the notice of the public, information can be passed on to Legal Metrology Department. "As soon as we receive a complaint, our squad will conduct checks. After verifying th complaint, action will be initiated," Ram Mohan said.Though crippled by severe staff shortage, the entire officers within the department will be part of the operation during Onam season.
Last year, the Legal Metrology Department had registered many cases based on the information provided by the public. Selling products without MRP and proper descriptions, tampering with MRP label and variation in the weight of the product are the commonly-found malpractices. "Since GST has come into force and the tax rate of several products reduced recently, our squads will check whether traders are overcharging in the name of GST. The consumers should collect the bill of the product purchased to get information about the GST charged on it," an officer said.
As many as 1,853 cases were registered during the 2017-18 fiscal over violation of legal metrology norms in Ernakulam district. The Central Zone of the Legal Metrology Department covering Ernakulam, Palakkad, Thrissur and Idukki districts witnessed registration of 7,031 cases during the last fiscal. The consumer can lodge complaints with the Legal Metrology Department in Ernakulam district over the phone on 0484-2428772 and 2423180. The consumers can also lodge complaints via email - email@example.com