SILCHAR, Aug 18: Quite silently and surreptitiously, consumers in daily and weekly markets are being fleeced by unscrupulous traders and businessmen, adopting the method of less-weights. According to Grahak Suraksha Samiti (GSS) general secretary Biplob Kumar Goswami, this has come to light after a random survey of some of the markets around the town. The businessmen dealing in vegetables, fish and meat are found to take recourse to questioble means.
This picture has been seen in the markets of Fatak Bazar, Itkhola, Tarapur, Rangirkhari and tiol Highway. According to Goswami, against the consumers’ demand for one kg of vegetables, the sellers take to under-weight to the extent of 100 gram to 150 gram. The traders of fish and meat adopt under-weight from 150 gram to 200 gram against the demand of the consumers for 1000 gram. This is also the general complaint. Besides being cheated on the front of measurement, consumers have to cough up more money due to the rising inflation.
Biplob Kumar Goswami hit out at the Weights and Measurements Department of the state government which exists only in me. Questions are being raised in civil circles what for this department has been set up by the state. It is yet another example of a state department which has become a white elephant. The signboard that hangs before the office only goes to undermine the consumers. The officers and employees never take the trouble to go for surprise inspection of the markets. Nor one hears of their any role in detecting the dishonest traders and initiating legal action as per state government rules.
The state government too seems indifferent towards its primary responsibility to ensure that each and every department functions with the seriousness it is expected. The district administration also glosses over the matter though it never fails to make the consumers aware of their right to fair marketing. The Grahak Suraksha Samiti at the same time refers to the standing norm of replacing the old weights and measures every year by new ones. This is hardly adhered to by 99% of the businessmen.
During his recent visit here, Dr. zrul Islam, minister of Food and Civil Supply as well as Consumers’ Affairs, was apprised of the functioning of the Weights and Measures Department. He was also impressed upon by the GSS for making it active in the larger interest of the consumers. He did assure, but nothing tangible is visible on the ground. It is learnt that due to the shortage of man power, the department is uble to carry out any surprise inspection of the weights and measures of the traders.
GSS general secretary Goswami is of the view that with the limited man power and assisted by the police, the department can make surprise inspection in a selected manner in order to alert the unscrupulous businessmen to mend their ways or face legal action. He cautions if the department does not take any action, GSS will be forced to lockout the office here forever. The newly formed municipal board, Goswami expects, will initiate measures on its own to regulate the markets within its jurisdiction.