State govts not acting tough against hoarders: Food Minister Ramvilas Paswan

'Consumer Act amendment will cut delays in getting justice, its scope being widened'

Written by Manoj Dattatrye More | Pune | Updated: January 5, 2016 12:26 am
ramvilas paswan, food minister paswan, dal price, retail price rise, india price rise, bihar jungle raj paswan, dal prices india, dal rate india File photo of Union Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan. (Source: PTI)

Union Food Minister Ramvilas Paswan on Monday said the Centre was making all efforts to ensure that the dal crisis does not recur next, but said the state governments were not acting tough against hoarders. “Only a handful of state governments have taken tough measures against hoarders, but several state governments have refused to act decisively against them,” said Paswan, who was in Pune.

Allaying fears that the price of essential commodities were rising in the country, Paswan said except the price of ‘dal,’ the price of no other essential commodity has seen any rise. Paswan said even the price of dal could have been contained had the state governments cracked the whip against hoarders. “Only a handful of states like Maharashtra and Karnataka have taken strong action against hoarders, but states like Bihar have done little to put hoarders in place. This is the issue of state government and they should act tough in this matter,” he said.

Stating that the Centre was doing everything possible to ensure that dal crisis does not recur next fiscal, Paswan said the demand for dal in the country every year is 226 lakh tonne, but the availability was 235 lakh tonne. “We have to therefore import 45 lakh tonne dal,” he said.

Paswan took stock of quantity of grains in Food Corporation of India godowns in Maharashtra and declared that there was sufficient grains to cater to the requirement under the Food Security Act.

Paswan, who also holds the charge of the Consumer Affairs Ministry, said Consumer Protection Act which is being amended will provide a strong framework for protection of consumer interest. “The amendments propose to set up of a regulatory authority which will be bestowed powers to recall products and initiate class suit against defaulting companies,” he said, adding that in the time of e-commerce business the amendments were long overdue.

Paswan said the bill has provisions for “product liability” if
product or the services causes loss to the consumer. “In case of a cancelled flight, a consumer will not only be able to recover the ticket amount but he can also seek damages for loss suffered due to cancellation of important an appointment or a contract,” he said.

Yet another significant amendment, he said, relates to the appeal in the consumer courts. “If a district court and the state court verdicts are similar, then the case will not go to the national consumer court as it results in delaying justice to the aggrieved party,” he said.

Paswan said to protect the delays in consumer courts, the new amendment will make it mandatory to register the complaints in 21 days. “Besides, there will be no need for an advocate for the consumer who wishes to fight his own case,” he said.

Bihar govt will fall in two years: Paswan

Stating that jungle raj was back in Bihar, Union Minister Ramvilas Paswan on Monday said the Nitish-Lalu government in Bihar will fall due to growing differences in less than two and half years. “Lawlessness is growing in Bihar. In less than two months of their assuming office, law and order situation in Bihar has worsened. Murders, kidnappings have become common…the jungle raj is back in Bihar,” he said. Paswan said both Nitish and Lalu are blaming each other for the worsening situation. “Therefore, this government will not last long,” he said.

Paswan said Prime Minister Narendra Modi put in best efforts to win Bihar elections but caste played a major role in the verdict going against BJP-led front. “They announced that 20 castes would be included in to most backward caste list and those in most backward caste in SC/ST list. This played a major role in the verdict going against us,” Paswan said.

Chirag Paswan, MP, said he is launching a “yatra” against the “misrule” of Bihar government from April. “Since in a short time, they have proved misfit, we will launch a yatra against the government. They route has not be decided, but the yatra may be preponed much before April,” he said.

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