Business sector’s lack of awareness and public ignorance challenges BSB’s calibration efforts for weights and measures

As was the case for retrofitting building structures, the Bhutan Standard Bureau (BSB) yet again experienced a cold response from Business sectors. Unawareness of consumers and ignorance of the sellers are the repeat culprits in the way of the implementation process.

Although the deadline for verification of the measurement was on 30 September, BSB has received only around five weights and five balances till date.

“We don’t know whether they are unaware or being ignorant about it,” said the Head of the Laboratory Service Division Tashi Wangchuk.

A team, in collaboration with Department of Trade, under the economic affairs ministry (MoEA) will investigate some shops and start to create awareness.

“We will target few shops like Jewelry, Meat and Centenary Farmers Market,” he said.

The National Metrology Laboratory under BSB is equipped with all the materials to maintain the national standard for measurement units traceable to international standards. Through this laboratory, BSB will collect all the weights, measures, bars and calibrate using their standard equipments.

People can not only bargain for prices of the commodity but can also fight for the accurate amount.

The International standard equipments were funded by United Nations Industrial Development organization (UNID). They were mainly brought from Germany, India and United Kingdom.

These equipments are sent for verification in National Physical Laboratory in India. The imported equipments is not like ordinary weights and measures, they are kept in an air conditioned room.

But all laboratories worldwide maintain one standard and it is verified in The International Bureau of Weights and Measures in France known as Bureau International des Pords et Mesues (BIPM).

The Head of Laboratory Service Division, Tashi Wangchuk said having reliable and accurate weights and measurement system in industry and commercial sectors and to maintain high standard for weights and measures is vital.

The Bhutan Standard Act 2010, BSB established a National Metrology Laboratory to maintain standard international measurement for free and fair trade for both consumer and business entrepreneurs, particularly in weights and measures.

It’s a consumer’s fundamental right when it comes to measurement to get the accurate amount for all purchases, for example, a kilogram of rice. And it’s the duty of the seller to check whether it’s accurate for the consumer to get the accurate amount.

Therefore the Laboratory had already started with the industries three months back to maintain the accurate measurements.

Although the calibration of weights and measures for industries was voluntary, yet BSB recommends verifying them annually to maintain high standards.

Up till now the industries sent these equipments to India for verifications. Since, the international standard equipment is now available in the bureau’s laboratories it had announced for all calibrations to be conducted in-country.

The Head of National Metrology Laboratory said it’s very important for Steel, cement, food and other related industries to have accurate weights and measures.

To have an accurate measurement is pivotal. If the mineral water industries have inaccurate measurement, then inappropriate mineral content in the water would lead to health disasters.

BSB is in the process to create awareness for industries and shops to calibrate the weights and measures in their lab.

After the calibration, range of error in the measuring equipments would be marked instead of pointing the particular error. However the equipments should also meet the certain standard error.

BSB will issue a certificate to those who verify their balances from the laboratory.

In the absence of a specific Weights and Measures Act, the BSB currently doesn’t have authority to penalize shopkeepers who fail to verify equipments. But, coincidentally and favorably for BSB, the MoEA has all the authority to penalize or cancel their licenses as it is the body that issues license for them.

BSB officials said with the increase in price of commodities, one should fight for the right amount and fair measurements. The main objective here is to protect consumers and have fair trade.

However the consumer should also play a vital role in verification of the weights and measures. If there is pressure from consumer regarding the authencity of the equipments then sellers will take an initiative to verify it.

For further awareness BSB is turning to broadcast media and other media houses.

In the near future, pressure and temperature will also be calibrated. These are very important especially to diagnose diseases in medical institutions and also for other services.

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