Price hike misery piling up poor, middle class
Golam Mostafa Jibon: The Directorate of National Consumers’ Right Protection under the Ministry of Commerce is facing acute manpower crisis that hampering consumer rights.
On the other hand, essentials’ prices are skyrocketing everyday putting the poor and middle-income group of people at misery.
The grand festival of adulteration and fraud is going on in most of the products and services in the country. In fact, almost all products ranging from fish-meat, milk-eggs and fruits in the market as well as in the service sector are being deceived in various processes including a mixture of harmful chemicals and adulterants. Unscrupulous people are selling fake and adulterated food including rice, fish, vegetables, spices, milk, yoghurt, sweets and bakery products.They are intoxicated with the greed of making more profit. On the other hand, they are resorting to fraud in providing various services. At the same time, it is making more profit by creating misery for the people by creating artificial crisis of products.
The state organization-Directorate of National Consumers’ Right Protectionstarted its journey in 2009 under the Ministry of Commerce. But due to various problems including manpower crisis, the company has not yet reached togoal. It could not acquire law enforcement capability. Only 108 people are working in the field to ensure the rights of more than 16 crore consumers. Although, the department has already applied for recruitment of 2,305 workforces, the public administration has initially approved for 208 manpower. The officials of the company think that, it is insignificant compared to the need. Meanwhile, the company is working to protect consumer rights and interests under the Consumer Rights Protection Act 2009.
However, due to lack of institutional capacity for law enforcement, the common people arenot getting the benefits of the organization and law in that way. It is learned that, the organization has only 208workforces to protect the rights of more than 160 million consumers in the country. Of them, only 5 officials are engaged in protecting the interests of at least 20 million consumers in the capital. Among them, there is one director general, one director and three deputy directors. There is currently a vacancy between the two positions of director. Besides, there are three people working against the post of four deputy directors. One position is still vacant.
Bablu Kumar Saha, director general of the National Consumer Rights Protection Department said,”A proposal has been submitted to the public administration ministry with the ministry’s approval for the required manpower. The Ministry of Public Administration is approving the manpower on the basis of getting budget.”
“We are working on various restrictions. Through this, we are working to ensure the rights of ordinary consumers,” he added.
Bablu Kumar Saha said that, the complaints submitted to the department are being disposed of with limited manpower. Pursuant to Section 76 (1) of the Consumer Protection Act, 2009, “Any person, who in general may be a consumer or to be a consumer shall lodge a written complaint with the Director General or any person authorized by the Director General for such purpose.
But due to lack of necessary manpower, it is not going to be supervised properly and punishment and fines are not going to be ensured. Hundreds of complaints remain unresolved. Due to lack of necessary manpower, it is not being supervised. Besides, punishment and fines are not being ensured.
Regarding the manpower crisis, Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi said, “We are working to protect the interests of consumers through the National Consumer Rights Protection Department. The officials of the department are working with various limitations. These problems will be solved in phases.
According to the source, any consumer can lodge a complaint with the department seeking redressal of their grievances to ensure their rights or purchase of the product. Complaints can be lodged with the Director General of the National Consumer Protection Department of the organization. Complaints can also be lodged electronically or by any other means at the National Directorate of Consumer Complaints Centers. Receipt of purchasing goods or services must be attached with the complaint. Complainant must provide his or her full name, parent’s name, address, phone, fax, e-mail number (if any) and occupation.
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