September 13, 2012 3:19:56 am
The consumer affairs department is all set to come down heavily on food joints and outlets that are violating rules by forcing the consumers to buy packaged drinking water.
Coffee shops and food outlets that refrain from serving free drinking water to consumers top the list. Consumers regularly complain that they are told by the food joint owners told water is not available and they have to buy bottled drinking water.
I went to Barista on Humayun Court and had to buy water as they did not serve it free there, said Arunima Bhattacharya,a BCom first-year student who had gone to the outlet on August 21.
Similar was the experience of Mohit Sharma,a college goer,who went to a Café Coffee Day (CCD) outlet in south Kolkata. I was surprised when I asked for water and they gave me a small bottle of packaged water for which I had to pay extra money. They said they did not have provision for serving free drinking water, he said.
The newly opened Donut Baker outlet on Ballygunge Circular Road doesnt even have a wash basin. We dont serve water because there is no provision for it here. Even the water that is used to wash the utensils is brought from outside, said Sony Kshetry,manager of the shop.
Though a reality check speaks otherwise,some outlets maintained they served normal water if customers wanted. We do not serve normal water. Customers have to buy bottled water, said a person behind the counter of a Barista outlet. Almost immediately the manager intervened,saying ,He is a trainee. He doesnt know we serve water here.
Ramakrishnan K,President (Marketing) of CCD,said he did not know of the goings on and added: If such is the case,it has been a violation of the standard operation procedure and I would like to have specific complaints so that proper action can be taken against the outlets.
The consumer affairs department said it could act suo motu but a written complaint would be more helpful. If they are not providing with drinking water,it is a violation of Consumer Protection Act. If complainants send us a mail with the name of the outlets,we will take action against them. However,we can act suo motu if we come to know of any such practices, said Sajal Kumar Jana,Joint Controller,Legal Metrology.
Consumer Affairs Minister Sadhan Pandey said they are upgrading the departments website so that people can lodge complaint online.
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