Consumer rights activists have called for a complete overhaul of the existing law and want stricter punishment for the offenders.

Hyderabad multiplexes must sell food at MRP Officials begin crackdown Image for representation
news Consumer Rights Thursday, July 19, 2018 - 08:19

Telangana’s Department of Legal Metrology on Tuesday warned multiplexes against selling food items at exorbitant prices beyond the minimum retail price.  

The Department’s Controller Akun Sabharwal on Tuesday held a meeting with the multiplex and theatre canteen owners and cautioned them against selling packaged food beyond the MRP. 

Last month, the department, in a series of raids, had found 14 multiplexes guilty of selling items beyond the MRP and cases were booked against them. These included multiplexes like GVK1, Prasads, Inorbit and Manjeera Malls, among others. 

The department said that unpackaged items like popcorn and ice cream should not be sold in small, medium and jumbo terms. Instead, their weight and amount should be mentioned on the item and also on the display board. 

The authorities also said that stickers mentioning the price and weight on unpackaged food will be allowed from July 24 to September 1. However, later they have to be printed on the items. 

However, activists are not convinced with the department’s action and called for a strict law for violations. 

Speaking to TNM, consumer rights activist Vijay Gopal said that the penalty for first time offence is up to Rs 25,000.  

“This means that the fine could be even Rs 500 or less than that. How will that be a deterrent?” he asked. 

He added that the department should publicize heavily on the consumer rights so that the consumers are aware of their rights and know the process of filing a complaint. 

“A wide publicity on TV and radio would help consumers to know their rights,” Vijay said. 

He opined that the department should set a deadline on complaints.  

“The complaints should be time-bound. The redressal takes months, which is painstaking. To address this problem, complaints should have deadlines and be addressed promptly.” 

Vijay further said that the department should also provide a clarity on outside food being carried into cinema halls.  

“The Telangana Cinema Regulation Act, 1955 doesn’t restrict anyone from carrying food inside theatres, but the theatres and multiplexes have been forbidding outside food. The Maharashtra government did not make a new rule to allow outside food into theatres. It was an old rule, which nobody paid attention to,” he claimed. 

“Similarly, the Legal Metrology Department in Telangana should follow the Act and provide relief to the cinema-goers,” Vijay expressed. 

Meanwhile, the Department has set up a redressal helpline at 7330774444.