An update on packaged drinking water pricing

The Packaged drinking water price issue

Since long now, this packaged drinking water and other beverages MRP issue is going from here to there. But still, there’s a development. And government seems to be keeping paswan’s word of uniform MRP all over. At least Maharashtra seems to have begun with this.

Latest development

According to a news in Hindustan Times, Controller, LMO, Amitabh Gupta told HT on Wednesday that they have instructed AHAR, the association of hotels and Restaurants in Maharashtra, that they can’t charge extra over and above the MRP to the consumers. As usual, the AHAR doesn’t object for charging uniform and same MRP while selling full Bottle, but strictly reserve the right to charge above for the “Opened Up” sales. This doesn’t much apply to packaged drinking water, but will be taken into consideration while selling packaged drinking water bottles to customers in Hotel rooms and lodgings.

Is VAT charged above the MRP? 

Mr Shetty, from AHAR looks like talking sense when he says that in Mumbai, the VAT is above the MRP, and it’s to the tune of 43 % in case of five star hotels. We’re trying to look into this through our channels, but frankly, if you really have a look at the pricing of packaged drinking water bottle, the MRP is far away from the actual selling cost at which a water producer sells  the bottle to a whole seller. And believe me, they sell to hotels and Restaurants at wholesale pricing. If you’re keen to look at the pricing of packaged drinking water, have a look here

So, why still higher greed? 

In a legitimate way, I think Mr Gupta has a right suggestion. He recommends charging service charges separately in the bill, and not to load the profit in the bottle pricing in a percentage format. But this is against a fundamental issue a human being deals with. That is…. “Up-to what,  and where to stop”

Are the merchants enough sensitive towards this aspect of real merchandise? Wait and watch. At least history doesn’t agree to this. And things sometimes (mostly) need to be forcefully implemented.

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