By Chaminda Silva
The Consumer Affairs Authority that had removed the controlled prices on a number of essentials including sugar, dhal, chicken and potatoes must take immediate action to prevent consumers being fleeced by traders at their will, says Ranjith Vithanage, Chairman of the National Movement for Consumer Rights Protection.
He said that the CAA issuing a special gazette notification removed the maximum retail price imposed on several items. The new gazette notification lifted price controls on several consumer goods including chicken, canned fish, dhal and sugar.
In March 2020 the CAA ordered price controls of 430 rupees per kilogram for broiler chicken with skin and 500 rupees for broiler chicken without skin.
“Now the prices are different from one shop to another and the consumers are at the mercy of the sellers. The traders decide the prices and there is no one price for a kilo of chicken,” Withanage said.
“Some consumers complain that fresh chicken prices have soared to around 700 rupees a kilo,” he said.
He said that Trade Minister Bandula Gunawardena has stated that sugar and rice would be sold at Sathosa outlets for the consumers only if they make other purchases from the same outlets.
That statement alone is a violation of the provisions of the Consumer Affairs Authority Act, he said.
“According to Section 16 (B) of the Act, goods cannot be sold by imposing conditions. If any one demands that consumers should make other purchases to be entitled to buy rice and sugar from the Sathosa outlets, they should complain on the CAA hotline 1977 because that is illegal,” Withanage said.
Meanwhile, a sales manager of a leading super market chain said that they were selling a kilo of chicken at Rs 690 irrespective of brands.