This is good news for travelers who depend on bottled water, but are often overcharged. Hotels—especially the 5-stars—and airports are notorious for charging way more than the MRP for bottled water. It’s always printed right on the label, so it’s easy to check. Most bottled water in India has an MRP of between Rs15-25, depending on brand and location, though there are some premium brands that are more. Presumably ‘hotels’ in this context means/includes restaurants. The word often refers to an eating place rather than a place to stay anyway.

In any case, it shouldn’t be a problem much longer as the Indian union government has made it clear that the prices of bottled water sold in such places must be no more than the MRP listed on the items.

Ram Vilas Paswan, the Union Minister of Food & Public Distribution, Consumer Affairs, said via Twitter that bottled water in airports, hotels and malls have to be sold at the same rates. This move has come as a result of a many complaints to the consumer forum.

This isn’t the first time the minister has brought up the subject of the sale of bottled water at inflated prices. Last October, he said that any sale of bottled water or of soft drinks above the MRP will result in stringent action. At that time he said, “We have sufficient powers to take action against violators and we will take [action] if consumers file complaints in this regard. There is penalty and even jail term for violators. (sic)”  I hope they are serious about this

So next time you get overcharged for water at an airport or hotel or anywhere else, you can let them know that you will lodge a complaint unless they charge the right amount. Actually, this applies to any food or beverage item with an MRP on the package.

An official from the state Food and Civil Supplies department said that people can now WhatsApp their complaints on 9869691666 or send an e-mail at dclmms_complaints@yahoo.com; dyclmmumbai@yahoo.in and dyclmkonkan@yahoo.in. To lodge a complaint, a consumer must have the receipt of a purchased product.

That said, I would encourage travelers to not buy bottled water at all, if possible. It’s much better—cheaper, better for the environment, and healthier—to purify your own. I use a portable UV device (Steripen) or else boil mine. There is often a risk in buying bottled water that it’s not as pure as it’s supposed to be.

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