As many as 17,844 shopkeepers, depot holders, LPG dealers, petrol pumps and street vendors have been booked for using faulty weight and measures and overcharging on packaged commodities in Haryana during past 13 years.

Data accessed by The Statesman shows that between the financial years 2004-05 to 2016-17, a total 17,844 challans were issued for various violations of the Legal Metrology Act, collecting Rs. 5.21 crore as compounding fee from the offenders.

Out of total cases, 12,905 challans were issued for violating faulty weights and measurement while 4,979 were booked for charging more than the Maximum Retail Price (MRP) on packaged commodities.

In past decade, maximum numbers of cases were detected in 2008-09 when 2,111 challans were issued, followed by cording witness 2009-10 (2,061 challans) and 2007-08 (1,921 challans).

However, the figures have witnessed a decline in the recent years as merely 1,323 challans were issued in past three years in the state. In fact, lowest number of challans were reported during 2016-17 with merely 364 challans.

Haryana Food and Supplies Minister Karn Dev Kamboj said, “Drives will continue in future also to ensure that there is no violation of the Legal Metrology Act in the state. Moreover, the BJP governments both at Centre and in the state have adopted the policy of zero tolerance towards corruption, If you see that figures, there is decline in such offences during our regime in the state as nearly 1,300 challan were reported in past three years against a total of over 17,000 were booked during past decade.”

“In case correctness of a weight is in doubt, consumers may see the bottom of the weight where the seal of the Inspector is affixed indicating the year of its verification. If it is not there or the year of the seal is old, then it is a case where complaint should be immediately made. Similarly, while buying vegetables and taking petrol or diesel, consumers should also keep a check on the accuracy of weights and measures,” Kamboj said.

An official from the department said among the challan issued for faulty weighing tools, majority of the offenders are street and roadside vendors, shopkeepers and small depot holders.

Maximum number of challans were issued against those who overcharged on the packaged commodities.

According to the department, of 17,884 challans issued in past 13 years, 15,980 have been decided.