JAMMU: Minister for Consumer Affairs & Public Distribution, Chowdhary Zulfkar Ali, on Sunday directed the Legal Metrology Department to actively work towards safeguarding the interests of the consumers and protect them from being fleeced at the hands of unscrupulous traders. He also instructed the department to initiate proceedings for establishing a new consumer helpline with a toll-free number to facilitate the protection of consumer rights by strengthening the redressal mechanism.
The minister said this while chairing the performance review meeting of Legal Metrology Department, Jammu. He also took account of activities undertaken with regard to consumer protection, awareness, and prevention of unfair and restrictive trade practices in the province.
Zulfkar said: “It is essential for people of the state to have easy access to the governing authorities to share their views and problems”. “The people are extension of the government, the ears and eyes on the ground and we have to encourage their participation so that various consumer protection acts can be efficiently and effectively enforced,” he said.
The helpline will address all consumer issues and complaints regarding various goods and services including, but not limited to petroleum products-transportation and storage, LPG handling and delivery, telecom services, health sector services, education sector services, regularisation of auto fare, jewellery and other metals.
In the meeting, the minister was informed that the department has intensified checking in the market and officers are ensuring that all weighing and measuring instruments used in transactions are accurate so that consumers get exact quantity paid for. It was further apprised that during financial year 2015-16, the department has booked 3819 cases under different provisions of the Act against 2950 cases booked last year. The department has realised fine of Rs 41.10 lakh against Rs.29.30 lakh last year, revenue of Rs 114.02 lakh was realised for certification of weighing instruments against Rs.103.03 lakh earned during last financial year.
The minister directed that, in addition to this, thrust has to be given on implementing the provisions of Consumer Protection Act & Essential Commodity Act as maximum incidents are being reported where the consumers are deceived particularly in education, jewellery, insurance and in misleading advertisement sector.