Revised rate not yet in place for packaged water

Even after the State government’s latest notification fixing the price of bottled drinking water at ₹13 a litre, retail traders in different parts of the district are seemingly unaware of the new regulation and are yet to reduce the price. The previous rate of ₹20 a litre is still being collected by some rural and urban retailers, who claim that they still have the old stock procured at higher rates from wholesale suppliers.

Customers who bought packaged drinking water from some shops at Mukkom said the retailers justified the old price, claiming that they were supplying chilled water. Though no such order existed in support of the traders’ unfair practice, many customers believed it and made the payment, they said. Some of the urban traders have just reduced ₹5 for one-litre bottles so as to create a false impression that they were complying with the government order. The product was sold at the revised rate only to some of the customers who threatened to challenge it in consumer courts.

Essential commodities

Officials with the Legal Metrology Department said the notification issued by the government by including the supply of packaged water under the armpit of the Essential Commodities Act, would be enforced by their inspectors. They said the Act was in force from March 17 and the sale of old stock charging unfair prices would be considered a punishable offence under the Essential Commodities Act.

According to Legal Metrology Department officials, the checking squads under the District Supply Office too would join the taluk-level inspections to track illegal retailers in the sector. Those who come across the unfair trade should communicate it to the district-level authorities for surprise inspections, they said.

Though the proposal to reduce the price of packaged drinking water was mooted by the Food and Civil Supplies Department two years ago, it remained unimplemented following the staunch opposition of manufacturers in the sector. The majority of the retailers too had backed the manufacturers in their protest because they feared that the revised rate was likely to slash their profit margin.

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Printable version | Jun 13, 2021 8:11:07 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kozhikode/revised-rate-not-yet-in-place-for-packaged-water/article31123941.ece

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