The Department of Legal Metrology’s directions to multiplexes to sell foodstuff only at the maximum retail price beginning August 1 will leave unpackaged item such as popcorn unaffected.

Officials who did not wish to be identified pointed out that while management of these establishments have been instructed to display and sell foodstuff by weight and not by size of the package, they clarified that the department cannot regulate unpackaged items.

“As long as multiplexes display the weight of food items like popcorn or ice cream on containers and display boards, fixing price is at their discretion. We cannot do much about it and they can fix any price,” said an official.

“However, when the foodstuff is packed, then we can take action as such things come under the Packaged Commodity Rules of 2011,” he added.

Many movie-goers, both on and off social media, welcomed the decision of the Department of Legal Metrology after they instructed multiplexes to sell foodstuff at the maximum retail price. But, others expressed apprehensions.

Exorbitant prices

“How can popcorn be priced at say Rs. 250 or Rs. 300? It is a good thing that water bottles will be at the MRP, but the government should regulate prices of other things as well. It should be affordable for all,” said V. Srinivas, a movie buff.

Others like Mohammed Rafey said that State should take a cue from Maharashtra which recently permitted multiplex patrons to carry outside food with them. His views are echoed by several on social media.

Commenting on the issue, Controller of Legal Metrology Akun Sabharwal said that he has requested for a meeting with Consumer Affairs, Food, and Civil Supplies Minister Eatala Rajender.

“I have been communicating with Secretary of the Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Protection Department of Maharashtra. We are exploring as to what can be done and are following the developments in Maharashtra very closely. Any decision which we will take will be consultative,” Mr. Sabharwal said.

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