Ours is a registered organization (NGO) with its registered office at Palakkad and is unique and different with its unselfish service. It is recognized locally, nationally and now internationally for its exceptional performance and social activities.
Realising the pivotal role that an NGO can play in eradicating social evils and injustice, a group of friends came together and formed an association named ‘Consumers Association’ on 25th May 1991, registered under Societies Registration Act of India.
As an NGO functioning in the consumers’ interest, we interact with statutory and recommendatory committees & forums constituted by the government and raise the problems of aggrieved consumers and uphold the rights of the civil society. We raise youth awareness and their active participation in issues of controlling corruption and improving transparency at the local government level through public awareness campaign and a series of meetings with youth in schools and Colleges. We also engage inpromoting transparent, incorrupt and effective management of public finances bylocal governments in municipalities. The project aims to promote community needs in order to improve public services and communicate that politicians and bureaucrats should become more accountable to the public which would lead to better decision making.
Government decision making capacity should be improved through involvement of all relevant stakeholders in national and local public policy formulation and the implementation of policies should become more efficient. As a part of educating the civil society, the Consumers' Association conducts seminars, debate,discussion and symposiums on various subjects and started celebrating World Consumers' day every year. To raise awareness in the civil society, various competitions were conducted and prizes distributed to the winners. Additionally, the Consumers' Association honours persons, institutions and organizations for their outstanding service towards consumer community on an annual basis.
Such seminars, symposiums, group discussions and celebrations have saved the civil society from the exploitation and unfair trades and services to some extent. The expenses for such programmes are met from the membership fees of new members who join each year.
Considering our relentless services, the Government of India and the State Government have nominated us to various statutory as well as recommendatory committees constituted by the government.
Given below is a list of the most important statutory as well as recommendatory committees nominated by the state and central governments that we have been nominated to.
I.Central Consumer Protection Council, (CCPC) Govt. of India,KrishiBhavan,New Delhi.
The Chairperson of the CCPC is the Minister for Food, Public Distribution,Agriculture and Consumer Affairs, with its office at KrishiBhavan, New Delhi and the duration is for the period of 3 years.
The Central Consumer Protection Council (CCPC) chaired by the concerned Minister, Govt. of India,is the authority at the national level to make the Act really meaningful and useful including necessary legal amendments to ensure the consumers rights & interests.
The Central Consumer Protection Council is the backbone of the Consumer Protection Act -1986 in India. The new council consists of 35 members including ten Ministers from different States, tworepresentatives from Parliament, various heads of the important departments, and Consumers, Trade & Industries associations. We have been nominated to the newly reconstituted CCPC as per the Government of India's latest Gazette notification published on 14th October 2007.
ll. Consumer Adequacy Group Member of TRAI , Govt. of India , New Delhi.
The role of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Authority (TRAI)In the early 90's there was a shift in the economic policy of the Government of India. The main purpose of the new economic policy was to improve India's competitiveness in the global marker and rapid growth of exports. Another element of the new economic policy was to attract foreign direct investment and also to stimulate domestic investment. During the same period it was also felt that the telecommunication services of world class quality was of utmost necessity for the success of the new economic policy and that it should be accorded a high degree of priority in the government. With this aim in view, the sector was liberalized and private companies were allowed to enter this service sector.This entry also facilitated an increase in the level of investment in the sector; and such an increase was badly needed. This became possible only with the participation of private companies in the sector.
With the private companies and government companies sharing markets of various services in the telecom sector, the necessity of an independent regulator of the activities of this sector was felt. Accordingly the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI ) came into existence in the year 1997 through an Act of Parliament. Under the provisions of this Act, the TRAI is vested with certain powers and functions.
Considering our service in the field of telecom (mobile as well as land phone), we have been recommended, among other 40 NGOs, at the national level into the Consumer Advocacy Group, TRAI, New Delhi.This committee is constituted as per the TRAI Act, for protecting the interests of the consumers at national level.
We have participated in many discussions and consultations organized by TRAI at various places and contributed many valuable suggestions for ensuring the upholding of consumer interests in this field. The Chairman of the TRAI is the final authority and its office is functioning at MahanagarDoorsancharBhavan, JLN Marg, OldMinto Road, New Delhi-110002.
lll. State Food Advisory Council, Govt. of Kerala, Thiruvananthapuram.
We are also a member of State Food Advisory Council which was reorganized by the Government with the Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Minister as its chairman. The Council consists of 35 members from various departments, Legal Metrology, LPG, Petrol, FCI, Ration Dealers, Trade Unions, Agriculture Societies, Associations of Hotel Owners and consumers' associations. The council with its office at the Government secretariat, Thiruvananthapuram aims at protecting the interest of the consumers especially in food, public distribution and LPG-petrol sector.
Apart from the above, we actively associate with other committees constituted as per the Government. The Consumer Welfare Fund, the Consumer Protection Council, the Petro Products Grievances Redressal Forum and the Food Advisory cum Vigilance Committee are among the other important few.
We are serving through these committees to the best of our abilities, without any compensation or remuneration whatsoever, for the welfare of the civil society.
We fought for and on behalf of many consumers who were refused fair service from various service providers from time to time. A few instances are given below.
1. An incident of negation of electrical connection to a poor woman.
Ms. K K Ramani is a staff of one of the Public Sector enterprises , Govt.of India and is a widow aged 50. She is belongs to the scheduled tribe community and staying at Kottamparakkulam, Kanjikode .She had remitted Rs. 450/- to the Electricity Board as the Connection deposit on 24th November 2000. Even after four years the Electricity Board refused to provide connection to her house in the modern society and there upon she approached us with a written complaint.
On receiving the complaint 15th August 2004 , we conducted preliminary enquiries and found that there was undue delay & negligence of service on part of the KSEB authorities. Then we issued a notice to the Chief Engineer, K S E B ,Palakkad on 30th August 2004 demanding a reply within 30 days clearly stating that it is a case of negation of justice to a deserved schedule tribe widow. The notice was ignored by the Chief Engineer, K S E B. Then We approached the Officer and discussed the matter and learnt that two neighbors had filed their objection in allotting electrical connection to Smt. K K Ramani.
The chief Engineer promised to do the needful to overrule the requests of the neighbors and take up the matter soon. But it was noticed that the Chief Engineer did not take any action even after several months. Later we brought the issue before the District Collector but of no avail.
So we submitted a petition to the Chief Minister through "Sutharya Keralam" on 21 March 2005. The Chief Minister ordered the Chief Engineer to take up the matter and report within 15 days. Copy was given to us. On receiving the notice from CM's office the Chief Engineer informed us that two neighbors of Smt. K K Ramani had filed objection against allotting electrical connection to K K Ramani at Additional Dist. Magistrate's Court and two advocates were looking after the court proceedings....
Then we contacted the office of the Additional Magistrate and learnt that the court had taken the case but no hearing was done last one and half years. Consequently, the General Secretary, appeared on behalf of Smt K K Ramani and argued against the unfair service of the KSEB and the undue delay for connection order . The case proceedings began once again.
After a prolonged eight hearings the court rejected the objections filed and accepted our arguments on 23 November 2005 and the next day that is on 24th November 2005 , the K S E B had given electrical connection to Smt. K K Ramani. Consumers' Association is proud that it could lend its service to a destitute widow absolutely free.
2.Abnormal Service Charges levied by STD Booths ... "Service charge is not the Right"
During 1999 the Organizations of STD Booth owners approached the High Court of Kerala to levy service charge at the rate of Rs.2/- per call. But we rose to the occasion and fought the case in High Court Single Bench, Division Bench, Full Bench and the Supreme Court from 1999 to 2002 and obtained the verdict in which the court had undoubtedly stated that the service charge is not the right of the STD Booth Owners. The beneficiaries of this verdict are millions of common people who daily make use of the STD Booths...
3.Service Charge for SB Account Holders levied by Catholic Syrian Bank.
Service charges at the rate of Rs.25/- were collected from Smt. Hema Venugopal and Sri. V A Menon by the Catholic Syrian Bank at their Chandranagar Branch. The authorities kept mum while questioned by the account holders so they lodged a compliant with us.. We took up the matter and contacted the corporate office of the bank. In the discussions and arguments that followed Consumers’ Association could convince that the Bank was unlawfully taxing its customers and the Bank issued orders to stop the service tax and also to refund the service charges levied in the past to the complaints. Due to our intervention thousands of SB account holders benefited throughout the country.
4. Action taken against distribution of Synthetic Milk which caused fatal diseases
Synthetic milk was distributed by some anti social elements from Tamil Nadu in cans in and around Palakkad, Thrissur and Eranakulam districts. Some citizens who grew suspicious of the quality of the milk brought the incidents to the notice of Consumers' Association. We brought this issue before the District Food Advisory cum vigilance committee and requested the authorities to test the quality of the milk. The Chairman of the committee Dr. Elankovan, the district Collector issued orders to the food inspector to find out the certainty of the compliant. On examining the milk it was found to be manufactured using Urea, Soyabean waste and out dated milk powder. Also the lab report indicated the fatal diseases if the milk is consumed by the public. Consumers' Association had to face threats from the milk mafia but took firm decisions and fought against the mafia and stopped the distribution of such milk , and saved thousands of poor people .
5. One day fasting at the Civil Station on 03-03-03 to open the eyes of the Government.
The function of CDRF ( Consumer Disputes & Redressal Forum – Consumer Courts ) came to a stand still by 2003. This was because the Government did not nominate the Members for the two vacancies of the forum, created by leaving of two members. We have submitted memorandum to fill the vacancies at the earliest to Sri. G Karthikeyan the Minister who was handling the port folio, with a copy to the Chief Minister Sri. A.K.Antony and Opposition leader Sri.V.S.Achudanandan.
In the memorandum Consumers’ Association brought the importance before the Government to fill the vacancies in a month’s time lest Consumers’ Association should be forced to proceed with other means such as hunger strike etc.. to apprise the citizens of the grave irresponsibility on the part of the Government.
When all the requests and memoranda fell in a deaf ear, Consumers’ Association assembled in front of the Civil Station for a One Day Hunger Strike and once again warned the authorities of the legal consequences .This had its own effect and in a week’s time the vacancies were filled and CDRF ( Consumer Court ) started functioning to the benefit of hundreds of consumers..
6. In the High Court to constitute the Consumer Protection Councils
Respondent: 1. Govt. of Kerala, Ministry of Consumer Affairs,Thiruvanathapuram
2. Member Secretary, Consumer Protection Council
Govt. of Kerala, Thiruvananthapuram.
The Consumer Protection Councils section 7 & 8a and b ,falls under the authority of the State government aims at creating a holistic awareness in the civil society by promoting and conducting meetings and seminars , and motivating the Consumers Courts (CDRF and CDRC) for speedy disposal of the disputes . The period of the council is for 3 years. Since 2003 the State Consumer Protection Council , constituted on 2002 became inactive and even after 2005 the Government did not take any initiative to form the new Council.
Moreover, in accordance with the CPA -1986 Act amendment of 18th December 2002, inserted section 8a&8b for The District Consumer Protection Councils (DCPC ) and no actions were taken by the government for the constitution of the DCPC in all districts . Considering all these circumstances, Consumers' Association filed a case with the High Court of Kerala for the constitution of these councils . The General Secretary appeared as Party in Person . Case No. [W.P. (C) 5285/2005] and argued against the service negligence of the government.
As a result, on 28th March 2005 Chief Justice Sri. K S Radhakrishnan and the full bench passed orders for appointing the above council within 90 days and the Government immediately took action to form the councils. Our Consumers' Association was the only organization that spent time and money to awaken the Govt. officials to form the councils thereby meting out requisites of the people.
7. Celebration of World Consumers Day with 'Sathyagraha' on 15-03-2007.
We celebrated the World Consumers Day on 15th March 2007 with a "Sathyagraha" in front of the Fifth lamp corner ,Fort Maidan Palakkad to invite the attention of the Government to the following facts:
Considering our relentless service towards the society , we have been nominated in the Statutory as well as the recommendatory committees constituted by the Government of India & Government of Kerala..
Among the important few are:
To protect the Interest & Welfare of the Consumers .
Try our level best to Organize the Unorganized
DONATIONS :- How Can I Help?
The Consumers Association depends on the generosity of people like you. There are many ways that individuals can help by "giving back" a portion of the good fortune with which they have been blessed.
A donation of time may be what you can afford. Consumers Association sponsors several seminars, educational programs for the empowerment of the civil society which require volunteers. You don’t need special training, just a willing heart. You can also help by giving donations any kind in any currency in the world.
Your contributions for the upliftment of society in any currency may please be forwarded to our joint Current Account no. 5 7 0 0 3 8 3 7 5 1 2 ( IFS Code ; SBTR 0000673 & SWIFT Code is SBT RIN BBF ED ) maintaining at State Bank of Travancore ( SBT ) Chandranagar branch , Palakkad- 678007 , Kerala , India .
A tax deductible gift of money is always needed. This will keep the doors of many charitable organizations open in your community and around the world. You can donate to Consumers Association through any of the following modes.
Checks or Money Orders from Kerala / India = The President / the General Secretary Consumers Association Hotel Soorya City, Sulthanpet , Palakkad, Kerala State- 678 001. Phone: 0491-2803467, Fax : 2569952. Mobile: 9446059952. email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org,
If you have any questions concerning Consumers Association or if you are wondering how you can help, please feel free to contact us.
Advt. PA. Surendran
(CAG Member –TRAI ,CCPC & Sate Food Advisory Council ).
General Secretary , Consumers' Association ,
Hotel Soorya City, Sulthanpet , Palakkad, Kerala State- 678 001.
Phone : 0491-2803467, Fax : 2569952. Mobile : 9446059952.
e-mail : email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org,
Our web site: www.consumersindia.org
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