District consumer forums failed to act on time: Survey District consumer forums

Times of India, Jaipur, September 19, 2010

The district consumer forums have failed to redress the grievances of the consumers on time, as per the findings of a survey. Of all the cases filed in these forums in the state, only 25% were found solved within the stipulated timeframe of 150 days, while only 3% of them were represented by the aggrieved consumers themselves or by a consumer organisation.

The survey further revealed that in 25% of the cases, only financial help was provided by the consumer clubs while the amount provided for free legal assistance to the consumers was only 17%. In most of the districts, either the post of drug inspector was found vacant or a single drug inspector was in charge of more than one districts. However, 58% of the total number of complaints were disposed of by the weights and measures department.

The survey was carried out by CUTS International, a voluntary organisation, in 12 districts of the state districts in March this year in collaboration with local partners under its project “Grassroots reach out and networking in Rajasthan through consumer action”.

Dausa, Chittorgarh, Alwar, Banswara, Sikar, Jodhpur, Churu, Jalore, Bundi, Kota, Dholpur and Tonk are the districts where the survey was conducted. The survey aimed at unearthing the status and functioning of the six important government departments which deal with consumer issues in the state — district collectorate, district consumer disputes redressal forums, district supply office, drug inspector’s office, district medical and health department and legal metrology department.

The findings of the survey was shared at public interface meetings (PIMs) in all these districts. Not only the officials from the respective departments were invited to the PIMs but several public representatives also attended these meetings.

The organisation expects the survey to serve as an advocacy tool and help chalk out future course of action and strategy to improve the consumer-friendly policies.

The news item can also be viewed at: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/