The Food and Civil Supplies Department on Wednesday conducted raids on 182 major restaurants, multiplexes and malls in Bengaluru to check if water bottles were being sold at MRP.
According to the Food and Civil Supplies Minister UT Khader, out of 182 raids, 46 outlets were found to be charging more than the MRP for water bottles.
“We have booked 46 cases till now. For the first offense, a fine of Rs 2,000 will be levied and cases have been registered against these outlets,” the Minister said.
The raids were conducted on the direction of UT Khader.
Khader also said that outlets and multiplexes in Mantri Mall, UB City, Orion Mall, Forum Mall and Garuda Mall had violated the rule.
“In most places they were charging Rs 50 for a water bottle when the price is actually Rs 20. In an outlet in UB City, a Rs 45 bottle of Bisleri water was being sold at Rs 119, and another brand, which is also priced at Rs 45, was being sold at Rs 179. This is more than double the amount and a clear violation of the rule,” Minister Khader said.
While some outlets sold over priced water bottles, certain multiplexes did not allow people to carry water bottles into the theatre.
“According to the recent directive by the National Consumer Dispute Redressal Forum, all outlets in multiplexes and eateries within the limits of BBMP provide free and clean drinking water to all consumers. Also water bottles must be sold at maximum retail price. Theatres must allow people to carry water bottles that they already have. This was being violated,” he said.
A few restaurants across the city were also found violating the rule and not providing free drinking water. Cases have also been registered against these outlets and penalties levied.
“We have written to the central government to include water as an essential commodity under the Essential Commodities Act. This has to be changed immediately,” UT Khader said.
The Minister said that these raids are not a one-time event and random raids will be conducted across the city in the future to ensure that eateries and multiplexes do not cheat customers.
“This was conducted not only to catch the offenders but also to ensure that the public are aware of their right to demand that the water bottles be sold at MRP. Most customers end up paying what the outlets demand,” he added.