Should the weight of a rosogolla determine its price' Yes, says the government; no, say sweet shop-owners.
To make consumers aware of the products they buy, the government has recently informed the Paschim Banga Mistanna Byabosayi Samity — an association of sweet shop-owners in the state — of the law that prohibits sale of sweets other than by weight, sparking a war of words between the two camps.
“According to the Standards of Weights and Measures Act, sweetmeats must be sold by weight, or else shop-owners can fix any sum on a piece, which amounts to cheating customers,” says P. Bhattacharya, secretary of the consumer affairs department. But however keen the government may be on raising awareness among consumers, implementation of the rule has created a lot of confusion.
“It is easy to sell curd, mihidana or sitabhog by weight. But how can one measure the weight of a piece of sandesh and calculate its cost'” asks Paresh Nath Sen, adviser to the Paschim Banga Mistanna Byabosayi Samity. “We have told the government that this order cannot be followed. The authorities must discuss the matter with us and understand our problem.”
B.B. Kar, chief executive of K.C. Das, says: “There is confusion among shop-owners over whether ‘weight’ includes the weight of the syrup sold along with certain sweets. How can the government ask us to fix the rate according to the weight of products without providing us the details of the rule'”
Echoing Kar, Paresh Nath Sen of Sen Mahasay says: “It’s unfortunate that rules are made without discussing matters with the people concerned. The government ought to realise that this order is not feasible.”
The secretary of the consumers affairs department, however, is not willing to listen to the grievances. “The sweetmeat shop-owners may have some objections. But a rule is a rule. If some owners can follow it, why can’t others'” he demands.
Bhattacharya says the government will soon take up measures to publicise the law among consumers and take stern steps against those flouting it. In the past fortnight, the government had cracked down on a number of shops across the city as part of the drive.
“During the festive season, the sizes of sweets are reduced, though the prices remain the same, and consumers are taken for a ride,” he adds.