'Consumer information cells are struggling to function'

Every district should have a consumer information cell. However, in Karnataka only five districts have this cell, said DK District Federation of Consumer Organisation President M J Salian.

Speaking at the National Consumer Day celebrations organised by the  Dakshina Kannada district administration, Department of Food and Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs (FCSCA), D K District Federation of Consumer Organisations, D K district National Service Scheme (NSS) and Consumer Club of University College, here at University College on Monday, he said only Udupi, Mangalore, Shimoga, Davangere and Bangalore have consumer information centres. However, these centres are struggling to function due to lack of funds, he said.

Salian pointed out that the centre in Mangalore was to receive Rs five lakh at the time of its launch. However, it has received only Rs 2.5 lakh. "The members of the forum shell out from their pocket to meet the expenses," he said.

He said that the centre tries to create awareness on consumer rights through its 56 consumer clubs started in various schools and colleges. A one-year certificate course, started in four colleges in Mangalore, is receiving a good response, he said and added that the centre receives around 60 cases on an average in a month.

The centre helps the consumer to put his problem in writing and many a time, the suppliers address problems faced by the consumer, fearing that he may approach the consumer redressal forum, he said. He also urged the DC to start a Consumer Protection Council in the district.

Inaugurating the programme, DK Deputy Commissioner N Prakash said that awareness on consumer rights need to reach the rural areas. DK is a district of intellectuals and is doing comparatively well with regard to consumer rights. However, there is more scope for development, he said.

He said that the Consumer Redressal Forum has received over 6,000 cases since its inception and around 2,000 are disposed of every year. He stressed on improving relations between the consumer and the supplier.

University College in-charge Principal Prof Parvathi Appayya said consumer is the king.
The consumer rights came into existence, when consumers were exploited by capitalists. Exploitation still continues and awareness is the key, she said.

University College NSS Convenor Dr Gananath Ekkar said the Right to Information Act helps a consumer to seek information and thereby protect his rights.

Comments (+)