The concept of consumer protection by means of enacting laws through organisations designed to ensure the rights of consumers as well as fair trade competition and the free flow of truthful information in the marketplace is conspicuously missing in Krishna district. “Consumer protection laws are a form of government regulation aimed at protecting the rights of consumers. It mainly deals with areas where safety or public health is an issue, such as food,” former member of the District Consumer Forum, Vijayawada, P.V.V. Satyanarayana Murthy said.
Citing example of the new food safety law that has replaced the Food Adulteration Act, he said earlier the Vijayawada Municipal Corporation’s food inspectors used to collect over 400 samples which is not the case now. “An official appointed to coordinate for the entire Krishna district has apparently failed miserably in his job,” he said.
Pointing to the mushrooming push carts loaded with junk food along the main roads, he said the fact that most of these vendors park their push carts along open drains where the food stuff is exposed to unhygienic surroundings.“Consumer welfare has always been a neglected area. The District Supply Officer, who is also the nodal officer for consumer protection, is evidently disinterested in consumer protection,” said Mr. Murthy.
Citing a series of issues where the hapless consumer has been at the receiving end of the ‘official apathy’, he said supply of contaminated water by the Vijayawada Municipal Corporation (VMC) was a perennial problem. Since it directly affects public welfare, authorities at the helm of affairs in the Consumer Forum must do the needful, he said.
The other ‘menaces’ listed out by him that need immediate attention include unregistered chit business in every nook and cranny of the city, the real estate business where many a time, the unsuspecting consumer walks into the trap laid by the developer or builder, unscrupulous jewellery merchants who do not issue proper bills and resort to other unfair means to make profits, hospital managements ‘looting’ people and insurance firms by producing inflated figures to the insurance companies.
“The Consumer Protection Council which is supposed to meet twice a year, has not met for ages,” he said, urging the district Collector, who is the chairman of the council, to look into the above mentioned issues.