SDM sting operation unmasks price-fudge in Dhanbad
Subdivisional magistrate Raj Maheswaram on Saturday posed as a customer to go to two medical shops here to check for himself whether pharmacies were selling masks at inflated rates.
At both shops, the masks, deemed a health essential in the wake of the novel coronavirus scare, were being sold at rates double of the MRP.
Both sellers charged Rs 80 for a mask which should not cost more than Rs 40, the SDM said, adding that he sealed both the shops, New Madan Medical Hall at Steel Gate, and New Bhawani Medical Hall located near Police Lines.
“I first went to New Madan Medical Hall at Steel Gate as a customer and asked for a mask. He charged me Rs 80. I introduced myself and said shopkeepers had been strictly instructed not to inflate prices of masks at a time like this. He had no answer when I asked him why he was charging twice the price,” Maheswaram said.
The SDM sealed the shop and directed the drug inspector to take action against the shopkeeper. His next stop was New Bhawani Medical Hall near Police Lines. Here too, the shopkeeper charged Rs 80 for a mask. The same drill followed.
Later, the SDM said: “At a time the world stands united against coronavirus, and demand for hand sanitizers and masks has surged, some people are still selling these at inflated prices or hoarding them to create artificial scarcity. Strict action will be taken against such shopkeepers.”