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Call for consumer rights awarness
Staff Reporter DIMAPUR, NOV 13 (NPN):
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Published on 14 Nov. 2010 12:20 AM IST
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Consumer Society Dimapur District (CSDD) in collaboration with department of Legal Metrology & Consumer Protection (LMCP) conducted a seminar on consumer rights at Ana-Ki Dimapur on Saturday.
Speaking on the occasion as chief guest, Dimapur Bar Association (DBA) president Imti Imsong emphasized on the need to create more consumer rights awareness in Nagaland, particularly in Dimapur, as it was the commercial hub of the state. Expressing concern over the lackadaisical mindset of the public on issues of adulterated food, artificial price rise and tampered trademarks, Imsong called upon the district consumers’ forum to acquaint the citizens on their rights as consumers.
He also said that unless people understood their rights, they could not logically complaint or fight for their rights. “Theoretically we talk about our rights, but practically nothing is being done,” Imsong said.
He pointed out that India, based on UN guidelines of 1985 passed its Consumer Protection Act in 1986, through which, consumers could file their complaints or grievances either with the district consumers’ forum, state commission or national commission, for redressal. However, the chief guest, who is also a senior advocate, lamented that the Nagaland state commission for consumer rights is more or less “defunct.” He further underscored the need for government and state agencies to create more awareness for the general public.
Addressing the seminar as the main speaker, Nagaland Voluntary Consumers’ Organization president and advocate Kezhokhoto Savi asserted that Nagaland was “suffering” from maximum wages practice.
He stated that while labour charges (wages) in the rest of the country were `80, in Nagaland, it ranged between `150-300, adding that instead of implementing minimum wages as per Minimum Wages Act, consumers were the ones who were unconsciously supporting such practices. While lauding various civic bodies for recently laying down strict guidelines against selling bricks, sand and other perishable goods above prescribed rates, NVCO president called on the need for responsible department and organizations to check various other activities relating to consumer exploitation.
Taking a dig on the issue of levying “Naga commission” by the Naga Council Dimapur and the subsequent formation of a committee for the issue by the state government, Kezhokhoto Savi opined that if the government granted legal power to one NGO to collect commission from its own people, all tribal Hohos and NGOs would begin to follow suit. This would further amplify the practice of taxation, he added.
Savi also expressed concern on various illegal taxation, and reminded that as per the state government’s decision of June 22, 2009, no collection of taxes by any organization, individuals and government departments such as police, excise, forest and taxes etc., would be made, unless authorized by the government.
Meanwhile, the consumer rights activist also pointed out the prevalence of the practice of using faulty weights and measures, particularly in Kohima, and stated that the consumer forum had already approached the authority in charge to enforce electronic weight measures, as was already implemented in Dimapur.
Reminding members of business community that they were also consumers themselves, Savi appealed to them to check malpractices and be faithful to the general public.
The programme was attended by representatives of different organizations of Dimapur including Nagaland Mothers’ Association Dimapur, GB union Dimapur Sadar, Chamber of Commerce Dimapur, CSDD, LMCP, consumer rights activists and some members of business fraternity Dimapur.

 
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