Across the state, packaged drinking water and cold drinks are being sold at much higher prices in big malls, airports, fancy restaurants and multiplexes. For instance, if the MRP has been set at Rs 20, a litre of bottled water, is being sold at Rs 50 or more in these outlets.

Following the receipt of hundreds of complaints from consumers, the Legal Metrology Directorate, New Delhi, has directed all state governments to plug this unfair trade practice by intensifying the drives.

Food and Civil Supplies Minister U T Khader told the media in Bengaluru on Wednesday that the state Legal Metrology Department has launched a two-day special drive in this regard.

Officials inspect the price

Details of raid conducted on May 3

Division No of inspections No of cases booked
Bengaluru     104                                     35
Belagavi     90       17
Kalaburgi     58         15
Mysuru     43           6
Total  295       73 

He also said that the state government will write to the Consumer Affairs Ministry seeking amendments to the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 2011, to address the 'Dual MRP' menace.

"There are instances where packaged drinking water is being sold at even Rs 80 to Rs 100 (per litre) in these places.

It has become difficult to address the problem because the companies are printing two different MRPs for the same product, which is illegal. The companies are taking advantage of the loopholes in the Act, which does not address dual MRP aspect," he said.

Khader also said that Karnataka will also seek amendments to allow cine goers in multiplexes to carry their own bottled water. 

"It's an essential commodity. People's health is more important than profits," he added. 

The Legal Metrology Department has deployed its entire staff to conduct the drive and seize bottles at are being sold at higher prices.

Under the Act, a penalty of Rs 2,000 will be levied. A second offence will attract six months imprisonment, Khader added.
The Minister conceded that the penalty amount was meagre, not really serving the purpose.