The Legal Metrology Department (LMD) has detected widespread use of tampered weighing scales by fish and meat vendors in leading markets in the district.
Law enforcers raided Palayam, Neyyatinkara, Kattakada and Nedumangad markets on Tuesday and seized scores of faulty weighing machines.
Assistant Controller, LMD, V.S. Benedict said dubious vendors placed their weighing scales on metal topped tables and stuck powerful magnets at the bottom of the scales so that the machines showed a higher measure than what was actually weighed.
Certain vendors threw slivers of meat on their weighing pans with considerable vigour to force the scales to tilt. Some vendors used tampered electronic weighing machines, calibrated to show a higher digital reading, to cheat shoppers.
Consumers, who bought costly fish stood a higher chance of being cheated. Enforcers noticed a variation of 100 to 200 gm for every kg of meat and fish retailed in these markets.
A consumer rights activist said the net content in packaged commodities (chiefly household provision such as rice, pulses, sugar and edible oil) retailed through certain “self styled” margin free shops were much less than the quantity declared on maximum retail price (MRP) labels on the products. The cases detected so far were just a fraction of the widespread malpractice.
Packaged commodities, chiefly readymade garments and confectionary items, were being sold widely with price stickers that did not mention mandatory details such as the name and address of the manufacturer or packer, whether the product was vegetarian or non-vegetarian, the manufacturing date of the product and its net content.
Certain textile shop owners used fake MRP labels to exaggerate the price of packaged readymade garments and swindled shoppers by offering “festival discounts” on the products. Several traders imported cheap readymade garments in bulk and sold them in packed form without MRP labels.
Many new generation life style shops sold imported products (mainly exotic food items, toys, electronic gadgets, footwear and branded perfumes) at highly exaggerated rates without MRP labels. Officials suspected that such shops also sold contraband goods, which were rarely billed or mentioned in the stock register.