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State and district consumer forums to be activated soon

Special Correspondent

“Complaints galore against landline, mobile operators”

CHENNAI: State and district-level consumer forums will be activated soon by filling all vacancies, said K. Shanmugham, Principal Secretary and Secretary, Department of Food, Cooperation and Civil Supplies, here on Saturday.

Winding up a seminar on ‘Responsibilities and rights of telephony users,’ organised by the Consumers Association of India, Mr. Shanmugham said these forums were not functioning effectively in the absence of Central and State government nominees. They would soon be appointed.

Regretting that consumer movement in the State was dormant and not well organised, Mr. Shanmugham said the Consumer Department would coordinate with voluntary consumer organisations in activating the movement.

An awareness programme would be launched after identifying the thrust areas. An action plan would be prepared in consultation with the voluntary consumer organisations.

Mr. Shanmugham suggested that deliberations of the seminar could be brought out in a booklet form and distributed to consumers.

Lacking in transparency

Inaugurating the seminar, K. Rajaraman, Commissioner of Civil Supplies and Consumer Protection, said the public at large were not satisfied with landline and mobile phone operators as there was no transparency in their operations.

The department was receiving complaints from consumers against the operators.

Two months ago, it forwarded some of the complaints of the consumers to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, but was yet to receive a reply.

No power

Mathew Palamattam, Deputy Advisor, TRAI, New Delhi, in his special address said the Authority had no power to enter into complaints of individual consumer but had taken steps to redress the grievances of groups of consumers.

He admitted there was no transparency in operation of service providers.

The Authority had instructed service providers not to give value-added services to consumers without the consent of consumers. Every service provider had been asked to set up call centres, nodal officers and appellate authority to redress consumer grievances. Soon the Authority would come out with more regulatory measures for the service providers, he said.

S. Ramani, former Director General of Police, said the increasing number of mobile phones was causing concern as their use during driving led to fatal accidents.

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