Karnataka: 6-month jail for vendors caught overcharging for bottled water

Karnataka government has warned multiplexes, restaurants and shopping malls against charging customers exorbitantly for bottled water.

The next time you are at a restaurant or a multiplex and are asked to pay more than the MRP (maximum retail price) on the mineral water bottle, stop right there.

Karnataka government has warned multiplexes, restaurants and shopping malls against charging customers exorbitantly for bottled water.

Any eatery or commercial establishment that sells bottled water at a premium price will be booked and the owners may even serve a jail term of up to six months.

STATE LAUNCHES MASSIVE CRACKDOWN

In a massive crackdown by the food and civil supplies department in Karnataka, nearly 188 premises were raided and 46 cases were registered against the owners of eateries for selling water at a price more than the MRP.

As first-time offenders, a fine of Rs 2,000 was slapped on them. If booked twice, a criminal case can be registered against such eatery owners and they may face a jail term of up to six months.

Several multiplexes, restaurants and shopping malls levied "cooling charges" over and above the MRP for bottled water.

State food and public distribution minister U T Khader said that the department has booked erring establishments under the packaged commodity rules of the Legal Metrology Act, 2011.

LET PEOPLE BRING WATER AT MOVIES

The minister said his department received several complaints regarding water bottles being sold at extremely high prices, especially in malls.

"Water is an essential commodity and therefore we will write to the Central government to bring water under essential commodities to ensure that unfair trade practices are not employed," U T Khader told India Today.

Several prominent malls were raided in Bengaluru, while 17 cases on unfair trade practices were registered in Belagavi . Another 50 cases were booked in Kalaburagi.

The minister said his department will issue a directive asking movie theatres to allow people to bring in their own water bottles. Cine-goers are forced to buy over-priced water bottles at malls as they cannot get one from their home.

In February this year, a hotel in Hyderabad was fined Rs 20,000 by the legal metrology team for overpricing of water in their restaurant. Taking a cue from the neighbour, Karnataka too has decided to act against unfair trade practices.

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