‘Motivate gram panchayats to create awareness at sabhas’
Seminar held on ‘Consumer Protection and Welfare: The Role of Media’
Academicians and students of universities from across the State participate
Shimoga: President of Karnataka State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (KSCDRC) Chandrashekaraiah said on Tuesday awareness about consumer rights should be created in rural areas.
He was speaking after inaugurating a two-day national seminar on “Consumer Protection and Welfare: The Role of Media” organised jointly by the Kuvempu University and the Centre for Consumer Studies of Indian Institute of Public Administration (IIPA), New Delhi, at Jnana Sahyadri campus at Shankaraghatta about 25 km from here.
People in the rural area lack knowledge about consumer rights and the Consumer Rights’ Act of 1986. Nowadays, people in the rural areas are buying electronic items and have LPG connection. “But it is not enough if people purchase household items or avail facilities. They should also know about the quality, durability and originality of the products”, he said.
He said the media, both electronic and print, should highlight problems faced by the rural consumers and guide them properly so that in case they are cheated they can fight for justice. Media should motivate gram panchayats to hold gram sabhas where consumers can be made aware of their rights.
In comparison to the urban consumers, people in the rural areas lack awareness on whom to approach for the protection of their rights as consumers in case they are given a defective household item by the seller.
He stressed on the role of the media in educating consumers, both urban and rural, about their rights and suggested that consumer cases should be taken up by the media.
He said consumer-related cases should be given the kind of importance that reports related to politics are given. He regretted that in the present times one could hardly find any stories on consumer cases in newspapers.
Speaking on the way consumer cases are solved, Mr. Chandrashekaraiah said there is a three-tier system. The cases are solved at the district, state and national levels.
Consumer court at the district takes up cases where in the consumer has suffered loss of up to Rs. 20 lakh. And if the loss is between Rs. 20 lakh and Rs. 1 crore, the case is dealt with by the state-level court and if the loss is more than Rs. 1 crore, it is resolved at the national level, he explained.
He said that in the present situation everyone is a consumer. But all consumers cannot not approach the KSCDRC to seek justice. “Hence, there is a need to educate people on consumerism and the onus of it largely rests on the media” he said.
Academicians and students of journalism and mass communication from different universities across the State are participating in the two-day seminar.