KARACHI (PPI) - Growing trend of profiteering has created a lot of problems for consumers, who become victim to unfair business practices countrywide. In Sindh province the situation is further aggravated as it has yet to get a proper consumer protection law. Though a Consumer Protection Ordinance was presented thrice by the provincial governor, but it lapsed on all occasions. The mounting inflation is adding woes of consumers, besides non-implementation of existing laws is also making an equated contribution in the grievances of people. The internationally recognised eight consumer rights, Basic needs, Safety, Information, Choice, Representation, Redress, Consumer Education and Healthy Environment, are yet to be accepted and implemented by our policymakers. Though only the government could not be blamed, as consumers themselves are least interested to protect their own rights. It lies under the obligation of consumer when making a purchase, to buy from a reputed store, check manufacture and expiry date, net & gross weight, seals and packing, the Pakistan Standard and Quality Control Authority (PSQCA) logo on packing of cooking oils, bottle waters, and other edibles, but unfortunately majority of consumers usually does not exercise their liability. No consumer protection law can guard our rights as we have seen Supreme Court ordering to sell sugar at Rs40 per kg, and not a single local trader is following these orders, says Amir, dejected low-income consumer at a general store in Gulshan-e-Iqbal. 'When the orders of the apex court of the country are thrown behind the back, how you anticipate that consumer protect law would get proper implementation. It would be a miracle if we get relief in this regime. A well-placed source in Consumer Rights Council (CRC) says t there is a dire need to introduce Consumer Protection Ordinance (CPO) in Sindh to provide a legal shield to the rights of consumers as the hiking rates of basic commodities and other related problems have plagued the lives of people. He stated lack of such laws in the province is a matter of grave concern besides it is absurd to cause delay in lawmaking process in this regard. He further highlighted that there is no effective research department established by the provincial government that could keep check and balances on escalating prices, production costs of edibles and other pertaining issues of basic commodities. Commenting on the progress of Consumer Rights Council, he said governor Sindh is much supportive in this regard, but the proper mechanism should be exercised. If the government provides us apt legislative cover (approving consumer protection law), which would help to work in coordination with government officials it would produce public-benefiting results. Chairman Helpline Trust Hamid Maker, when contacted, stated that the sole reason of non-implementation of consumer ordinance in Sindh is the lack of political will. He said District Courts that have been set up for consumer protection in Punjab, are functioning effectively and I have personally seen them,. He added that Consumer Rights Council (CRC) that has been established by the Governor is not functioning properly owing to lack of political determination. It may be noted that in India, the Consumer Protection Act was introduced in 1986 and a separate Ministry for Consumer Affairs was established, which has been very pro active in protecting the interests of the consumers. As such, there are over 2,000 consumer courts that deal with approximately 5 lack consumer complaints annually, providing speedy justice and redress to consumer complaints within 30 days and now there are over 5,000 consumer protection organisations operating in India. Sindh Law Minister Ayaz Soomro, when contacted said that the discussion on consumer protection is likely to be held in coming sessions of Sindh Assembly. He also added that consumer protection bodies that are running and functioning privately to guard consumer rights would also given priority to share their perspective in this regard. To a question about delay in approval of consumer protection ordinance, he declined to comment, saying issues pertaining to consumer protection law would surely be discussed in next sessions of assembly. The Sindh Consumer Ordinance which is yet to be legislated, states that, If any businessman, company, firm, person, manufacturer or trader, supplies or attempts to supply any defective goods or deficient services or practices; or attempts to practice any unfair trade practices; or makes or attempts to make any false or misleading representation or violates any provision of this ordinance, such businessman, company, firm person, manufacturer or trader shall be liable to pay compensation to the complainant as the consumer tribunal may direct. It has become a regular practice in our society that consumers are provided with substandard, adulterated and counterfeit products and now it is a need of hour to have a law to secure their rights. Millions of consumers are pushed towards poverty due to rising profiting. The worst example of this poverty was the tragedy of Khohri Garden Karachi during the Holy month of Ramadan in which at least 16 women and children lost their lives. Scores of these poor people were queued up there to get gratis ration to ease their financial burden. If poor people are provided at least basic edibles at affordable rates such appalling incidents could be averted. Advisor to Sindh Chief Minister Sharmila Farooqui, when contacted, said the government is taking steps to save consumers from profiteering and hoarding. Various companies in the country, particularly in Sindh, are flooding adulterated items in the markets, which is affecting health of the people. There is need to adopt a strict law to tighten noose around the erring companies selling expired food items, she said. Experts opine that if the government is serious about Consumer Protection Law than there should be a National Consumer Protection Law, which must be same for all provinces as per International standards to completely eradicate the malpractice against consumers in the country to reflect the robust sign of democracy.