Kohima, 13 March (MTNews): The Nagaland Voluntary Consumers’ Organization (NVCO) has embarked on a week-long observance of World Consumer Rights Day, under the theme “Fair and Responsible AI for Consumers.” NVCO President Kezhokhoto Savi appealed to all consumers and citizens to exercise vigilance while purchasing goods and utilizing services.

Savi emphasized the importance of checking manufacturing and expiry dates on food items and verifying the authenticity of medicines from reputable companies to prevent duplication or inferior quality. He also warned against the hazards of excessive fertilizer use in produce, steroids in meat, and formalin in fish.

Furthermore, NVCO has been lobbying the state government for the establishment of slaughterhouses to ensure the health and safety of consumers, especially in a region where meat consumption is prevalent. Slaughterhouses equipped with competent veterinary doctors would facilitate thorough health examinations of animals, mitigating the risks associated with the use of steroids and other harmful substances in meat production.

To monitor food safety, NVCO urged the authorities to deploy laboratory food testing vans to scrutinize markets for adulterated products. Consumers are encouraged to submit suspicious food samples for testing at the State Public Health Laboratory in Kohima, funded by the Food Safety and Standard Authority of India (FSSAI). NVCO emphasized that stringent penalties should be imposed on offenders under the Food Safety and Standard Act of 2006.

Moreover, NVCO raised concerns about multiple taxation on the business community, particularly in commercial hubs like Dimapur, asserting that these taxes ultimately translate into price hikes for consumers. They also called for the eradication of malpractices in food distribution, emphasizing fairness and honesty in implementing provisions of the National Food Security Act of 2013.

For consumer inquiries and assistance, NVCO highlighted the Nagaland State Consumer Helpline (1800 – 345 – 3701) in Kohima, offering counseling services and serving as an alternate dispute resolution mechanism. Additionally, NVCO, in collaboration with Kohima Law College, will commemorate World Consumer Rights Day on March 15, 2024, aligning with global observances.

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