Not a paise more than MRP can be charged, says official

Labour Department officials on Monday raided snacks shops at Aarapalayam bus stand here and fined shop owners for irregularities such as charging more than Maximum Retail Price (MRP), selling packed products without price stickers, using unauthorised weighing machines and so on.

According to Assistant Commissioner of Labour P. Subramanian, a total of nine shop owners were fined Rs. 2,000 each under the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules 2011 for charging Rs. 2 to 10 more than the MRP for packaged commodities such as biscuits, chips, chocolates, cakes and soft drinks.

Apart from them, employees of a government-owned Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation (TASMAC) liquor shop adjacent to the bus stand were also fined Rs. 2,000 after it was found that they were selling Indian Made Foreign Liquor bottles for prices higher than the MRP.

The raid was conducted on the direction of Collector L. Subramanian following complaints of irregularities in the bus stand shops. A team of officials led by the Assistant Commissioner fined the shop owners after confirming the irregularities through discreet enquiries.

After cracking down on the wrongdoers, Mr. Subramanian told The Hindu that the shop owners had been exploiting gullible bus passengers who generally do not mind to pay exorbitant amount demanded by the shop owners in their hurry to board the buses.

He added that no shop, irrespective of being situated on a pavement or in a swanky shopping mall, can charge a single paise more than the MRP on pretexts such as expenses incurred by them on refrigerating the products or the rental paid to mall owners.

Similarly, shop owners using weighing machines must produce them before the jurisdictional Labour Inspectors every year and get them stamped after verification.

“It is an offence to use unstamped weighing machines. Consumers can lodge complaints against such irregularities by dialling 0452-2604388,” he said.

Though the Legal Metrology Act 2009 and the rules framed under it were being implemented by officers designated as Deputy Controller of Legal Metrology in other States, the Labour Department officials had been assigned the job of executing the Act in Tamil Nadu, he said.

“Though technically, we are performing the duties of a Deputy Controller of Legal Metrology, we prefer to identify ourselves as Labour department officials because it is easy for people to recognise us. Many people are still not familiar with terms such as metrology,” Mr. Subramanian added.

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