Silchar: There have been widespread allegations that consumers are being taken for a ride in respect of the weight-measurement of the goods that they purchase from the retailers and wholesalers in the market.
The range of deception is wide and touches almost all sorts of commodities from vegetables to fruits, grocery items, fish, mutton and various other eatables to even milk products. There is no standing or standard rules for scientific measurement in the markets of this town as surveyed by Grahak Suraksha Samiti (GSS). It is not that all businessmen are alike. Some are no doubt honest and do business in a fair manner.
But, on the whole, pointed out Biplob Kumar Goswami, general secretary, GSS, it is the unscrupulous businessmen who roost the rule. This is despite the fact that the State government has a department of the controller of legal metrology here whose responsibility is to keep a watch and monitor the weights and measures carried out by the businessmen of all hues. But, the State government has no, as it appears, honest intention to keep the consumer oriented essential department active. For a long time, this department is crippled by the absence of inspector and sufficient supporting staff. The posts have been lying vacant.
The skeleton staff of officer and employees can hardly do justice and take up the onerous responsibility to go for supervision of the largest network of business houses and shops. It is also humanly impossible to attend to innumerable allegations of the consumers flooding the office. The situation is really unfortunate, feels the consumers’ body. The very objective of this important wing of the State government is to have a close watch on the money and business transactions between the customers and the sellers with particular reference to measurement. This is a part of the greater commitment of the legal metrology towards the buyers.
The role of the legal metrology is all the more crucial when examined in the context of the ever rising cost of LPG cylinders, petrol, diesel, cement, rod, rice, fish, mutton as well as vegetables. In every sphere of purchase, costumers are being fleeced. A round around the markets of Fatak Bazaar, Rangirkhari, National Highway, Itkhola and College road as well as Tarapur reveals transactions of lakhs of rupees for purchasing consumer goods. It is the considered opinion of most of the customers that they are being cheated to the tune of 50 to 100 grams less against the measured quantity of 1 kg of purchases according to a rough estimate, pointed out the GSS.
Biplob Kumar Goswami said on two occasions he had submitted memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner and the chairman of Silchar Municipal Board on behalf of the legal metrology for redressal of their genuine problem of staff shortage. The outcome remains disappointing. The municipal board can easily impose and implement its own rules and regulations to regulate the prices of the markets under its jurisdiction. Those unscrupulous traders who flout the standing orders can be summarily summoned and directed to close down their business. Nothing is done on the ground either by the administration or the civic body, regretted Biplob Kumar Goswami. How long will consumers continue to be cheated, he asked?