Published On : Tue, Dec 25th, 2012

Retailers flouting new government rules, consumers at loss

Nagpur News: To prevent consumers from being cheated by unchecked measurement and packaging of food products, the Central government has proposed a rule that packaged food should come only be sold in specified quantities mandated by the government. This rule had been made compulsory from 1st July, but is not followed in many retail shops in the city today.

The new rule specifies 32 items (food and others) like baby food, biscuits, soap, bread, tea, milk powder, salt, cement, paint, coffee and cold drinks, that are to be sold in packs weighing 25gm, 50 gm, 100gm, 200gm, 500gm and 1kg, 2kg, 5 kg etc. Shopkeepers can no longer sell food products in quantities like 88.6 gm, 87.5gm and 92 gm. The government formally announced this new rule in January 2012, and gave manufacturers time till 30th June to implement it and bring their new packaging into the market. The government mandated that all food products be sold in round figure measurements from 1st July onwards.

If the specified products are not available in rounded measurements or discrepancies are found upon inspection, then retailers will be charged penalty of Rs. 5 thousand, wholesalers Rs. 15 thousand, and Rs. 25 thousand will be levied against the producer. Officers of the Weights and Measures Department are authorised to collect fine up to Rs. 15 thousand; amounts above Rs. 15000 can only be collected by the department Director. Over five months have passed since the announcement, but the Department has not taken any action against any seller.

Consumer activist Mohammad Shahid says, “The government is not generating any awareness among consumers. Many consumers don’t know of this rule. Government officials should come forward and create awareness campaigns with consumer organizations.”