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    Published On : Tue, Oct 27th, 2015

    SHCV terms LMO diktat as irrational, ultra-vires; urges Paswan to act

    Nagpur: The Steel & Hardware Chamber of Vidarbha (SHCV), in a letter shot to Union Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Minister Ram Vilas Pawan and others, has drew their attention towards the recent directives issued by Legal Metrology Organisation (LMO) Maharashtra. The directives mandate owner (user) of high-capacity weighbridge to arrange Standard Weights to the tune of 50% of the maximum capacity of their weighbridge for the purposes of verification, re-verification and stamping the weighbridge. Terming the directives of Legal Metrology Organization as not only prima-facie irrational and unreasonable but also ultra-vires qua (beyond one’s legal power or authority) the objects and purposes of the Legal Metrology Act, 2009, the SHCV has urged the Central Minister and others to urgently intervene, enquire and direct Legal Metrology Organization Maharashtra to recall/withdraw the diktat.

    The copies of the letter, signed by Rajesh K. Lakhotia and Sanjay K Agrawal, President and Secretary respectively of Steel and Hardware Chamber of Vidarbha, have also been forwarded to Girish Bapat, Maharashtra Minister for Food, Civil Supply & Consumer Protection and the Director, Legal Metrology, New Delhi.

    The Steel & Hardware Chamber of Vidarbha, in its letters, further said that at At this juncture it would only be appropriate to reproduce the relevant provisions/ arrangements of the 2009 Act, Legal Metrology (General) Rules 2011 (2011 General Rules) and Enforcement Rules 2011 on the basis of which the said direction is sought to be contested and which would enable to draw your attention their concerns in the current legal scheme of things. (The Chamber has attached annexure of the Act).

    The letter to Paswan said, “The Controller, LMO Maharashtra under his letter No. LM-14/weighbridges/2015/2952 dated 14.07.2015 (copy attached herewith as Annexure– D) and the same being addressed to the Director, Legal Metrology, New Delhi, has raised the issue that weighbridge owners have expressed their inability to maintain 50% weights, which in the opinion of the Controller is mandatory to be maintained by weighbridge owners. (RTI application seeking copy of response of Director, Legal Metrology is pending before CPIO, LM, New Delhi, and also before SPIO, LMO Maharashtra).This opinion of the Controller appears to be contrary to the provisions of the Act. Further, technology advancement in automobile industry in past two decades has increased the load carrying capacity of commercial vehicles manifolds requiring corresponding increase in capacity of weighbridge to weigh them, thus resulting in installation of weighbridges of 100 MT capacity instead of earlier norm of 20MT to 40MT. Going by the opinion of the Controller, the owners would now be required to maintain 50MT weights which would cost them about Rs. 25.00 lakh based on the current per piece cost of 20 kg commercial weight, as against the cost of weighbridge ranging between Rs. 9.00 lakh to Rs. 14.00 lakh depending on the make and configuration of the weighbridge,” argued the letter.

    Thea above arguments pertaining to the ‘issue’ were put before the Controller, Legal Metrology Maharashtra, in the meeting held on 19.09.2015 during his visit to Nagpur. Convinced by our submissions the then Controller, LMO Maharashtra, assured resolving the issue in consultation with the Director, Legal Metrology, New Delhi, and simultaneously directed his subordinate jurisdictional authorities namely Dy. Controller and Asst. Controller present in the meeting to extend the due date for re-verification. A letter placing on records the decision taken in the meeting requested for issuance of formal directions to field officers.

    “Response to the request from LMO Maharashtra is awaited and no formal instructions appear on records till date, the consequence being that the field officers are reluctant to extend the due date by three months for re-verification and stamping of weighbridges as assured in the said meeting and thereby exposing the weighbridge owners to the risk of facing stern action by department,” the SHCV said.

    LMO direction could be challenged:
    The Steel and Hardware Chamber of Vidarbha has warned that the LMO direction could be challenged on the following grounds:

    That the directive mandating the users of high-capacity weighbridges to arrange 50% Standard Weights to the tune of maximum capacity of weighbridge, for undertaking re-verification and stamping of their weighbridge is unjust and arbitrary in accordance with the 2009 Act and Rules.

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