Labour Department officials seize water bottles, snack packets

The perennial problem of consumers being exploited in shops in bus stands across the state has caught the attention of the Chief Minister’s Office after Tamil Nadu People’s Consumer Federation, based in Tirunelveli, had sent petitions recently.

The Federation, patronised by former civil servant and freedom fighter K.Lakshmikanthan Bharathi, in its letter had said swindling of people, who would be busy to board buses than to question the exorbitant prices of items, was unjust.

Following this petition, the CMO had asked the Labour Department to take action against such shops. On Saturday, the Madurai Labour Department conducted a raid on shops in the Mattuthavani bus stand, and found that 14 shops were selling branded eatables and bottled water above the maximum retail prices. The prices of all the branded food items like biscuits and chips differed from shop to shop.

P.Subramanian, Assistant Commissioner, Labour Department, Madurai, who led the raid along with a team of labour inspectors, seized many bottles of drinking water, soft drinks and biscuit packets from the shops. “Since the order has come from the highest office in the State, we will take severe action and would suggest cancellation of vendor licences of such shops,” he added.

A fine of Rs.2,000 was slapped on all the 14 shops.

A senior citizen of Consumer Rights Protection Council in Madurai, who was also part of the team, said this happened not in isolation as a few civic authorities and politicians connived to carry out such unfair trade practices. However, if the railways could put an end to such practice why can’t it be done in bus stands? he asked.

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