Zulfkar stresses on consumer rights awareness

SRINAGAR: Minister for consumer affairs & public distribution Chowdhary Zulfkar Ali on Thursday said that people are more concerned about the distribution aspect of the food items than knowing and exercising their rights as consumers.
Charring the 17th meeting of State Consumer Protection Council here on Thursday, the minister said that people have limited knowledge about their rights, and due to this they lose on most of the privileges or entitlements given to them by the government and by the law.
Highlighting the plight of present private education system in the state, the minister said that due to the ignorance of their rights, the parents of private school students have to bear the brunt of annual fee increment when the rule clearly says that the schools have to take the parents into confidence before increasing any fees.
The minister added that there are complaints that some schools are forcing parents to purchase the various school goods including books, bags, and other stationery items from them only, when it should be the choice of the parents and students to decide where from they want to buy it.
The members of the council suggested that “grading system” should be introduced for the schools. And the grades would be allotted as per the infrastructural facilities like library, laboratory, computer lab, playing field school has.
During the meeting, the minister was also apprised that consumers are facing the similar concerns in health sector. The members informed that there are many nursing homes that are charging hefty amount for their services including surgeries and surgical items.
He said this all could be averted if consumers know their rights and are well aware with the entitlements law and government provides them. To address the issues and provide its recommendations in education and health sector, the minister during the meeting directed formulating of two state level working committees for each. It was decided the working committee for education would be headed by MLC Vikramditya Singh, while MLA Javeed Baig would head the health committee.
Stressing on the need of having the State Consumer Protection Council, Ali said that the main aim of formulating the Council was to make it an effective organization as it highlights various issues prevalent in the society.