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Consumer helpline- Chandigarh did not seek, avail of funds: Parliamentary panel report

This was mentioned in a report of the parliamentary standing committee on food, consumer affairs and public distribution submitted recently.

Written by Vinod Kumar | Chandigarh | Published: April 20, 2016 3:04:48 am

THE CHANDIGARH administration is apparently not keen on redressal of grievances of consumers as it has failed to avail of funds for setting up a consumer helpline under a scheme of the union ministry of consumer affairs, food and public distribution.

This was mentioned in a report of the parliamentary standing committee on food, consumer affairs and public distribution submitted recently. The ministry provides funds of nearly Rs 50 lakh to each state/UT for setting up such helplines.

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The committee, in its report, maintained that it was dismayed to note that the prominent UT of Chandigarh had not even asked for the funds.

Delhi, Jammu & Kashmir and Goa are among states\Ts that failed to avail funds under the scheme.

The committee also observed that the role of ministry has “not been effective” as it ought to have been in urging states to set up state helplines or asking them to apply for requisite funds from where it is not forthcoming or taking up the issue of unspent balances.

The committee directed the ministry to work in a more pro-active manner on the issue of setting up state consumer helplines in the interest of consumers.

However, UT deputy commissioner and chairman, food & supplies and consumer affairs, Ajit Balaji Joshi, who joined the administration in November last year, said the process of setting up a helpline had begun.

Ajay Jagga, member of the newly constituted Consumer Protection Counci, said the helpline was a must as it plays a major role in guiding consumers.

At present, residents have to run from pillar-to-post for clarifications and lodging complaints. Once the helpline is launched, residents will be spared the ordeal.

The helpline will also function as a resource centre with a database on required information for counselling. Such helplines function through toll-free telephone number on which residents can call and seek information, advice or guidance.

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