In a bid to make available essential commodities at reasonable prices to middle classes, the government was contemplating to launch retail outlets in Public-Private Partnership (PPP) mode, Minister for Consumer Affairs and Civil Supplies D. Sridhar Babu said here on Sunday.

Speaking at a seminar on “Consumer Protection Act-25 years achievement” organised by Confederation of Andhra Pradesh Consumers' Organisation (CAPCO), he said the objective was to ensure that there were no middlemen between the producer and consumer. Besides it was also a kind of an intervention meant to protect the salaried class from price rise.

Pointing out that 88 per cent of the population in the State were being provided essential commodities at subsidised rates, he said Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy was keen that the interests of the middle and upper middle classes were also safeguarded. Government had appointed a consultant to suggest an appropriate model and would soon take a decision in this regard.

Assuring that the government would ensure that consumer rights were fully protected, he urged consumer organisations to strengthen the consumer movement and create greater awareness among the people. He declared that a national convention on consumer rights would be held here in response to the organisers' plea for the State to provide a matching as the Centre had agreed to provide Rs. 5 lakh for organising the meet later this year.

TRS MLC Dilip Kumar too emphasised the need for creating more awareness among consumers on their rights and the need to protect them.

Mandadi Krishna Reddy, vice-chairman, Consumer Coordination Council, urged the government to ensure that the verdicts delivered by consumer courts were implemented. He also wanted the vacancies relating to chairmen and members of the consumer forums were filled up at various levels.

Toll free number

P.S.R.T.Swamy, assistant director of Legal Metrology department, gave an overview of the measures being taken to protect consumers. He urged consumers to lodge a complaint in case of any violation or fraud on toll free no—18604253333.