KMC looks to ensure transparency in city markets
Kolkata: The state Consumer Affairs department is installing electronic weighing machines at the markets maintained by Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) in the city, excluding those that deal with garments. The civic body is responsible for maintenance of 47 markets in the city, among which 16 sell only garments.
"The markets that have already been earmarked for putting such weighing machines are Gariahat Market, Hogg Market, Entally Market, Sakherbazar Market, Bansdroni Market, Gobra Market in Park Circus and Kankurgachi VIP Market. All these markets sell vegetables, fruits, fish and meat and some also sell grocery items," a senior official of KMC's Market department said.
There have been complaints from common people that some shopkeepers manipulate their weighing machines to fleece customers. "We want to ensure that common people are not cheated by any means. This will enable customers to weigh things purchased by them on their own and feel convinced that they have not been cheated by the shopkeeper," state Consumer Affairs minister Sadhan Pande said.
As per Consumer Law, there is punishment for shopkeepers who cheat people by giving them things less than the original weight.
The civic body also has its own way of addressing grievances of customers who complain of being cheated by a shopkeeper. A customer can lodge a complaint with the market superintendent, whose office is located in the concerned market premises.
The civic body showcauses the shop owner and seeks an explanation why his/her permit should not be cancelled. If found guilty, action is taken and the punishment even leads to cancellation of the trade licence.
"If the complaint is against a squatter vendor in the market then we will take strong measures to ensure that he cannot continue his business in the market," the official added.
It was the middle of 2018 when Pande had spoken with the then Mayor of Kolkata Sovan Chatterjee, asking him to allocate space in the municipal markets so that kiosks can be set up for placing these machines. The places in most of the markets have already been identified.
According to sources in the Consumer Affairs department, the price of each machine will be in the range of Rs 30,000.
"We are hopeful that people will be immensely benefitted by this move and at the same time, such unlawful practice on the part of a section of shopkeepers can be prevented," the official maintained.