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In a bid to tackle increasing number of consumer complaints with regard to errant traders, and to strengthen its raiding teams islandwide, the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) has decided to establish a centralized raiding unit in Colombo which would be operative from April.

“We hope to be in operation by the Sinhala and Tamil New Year. This unit will be established to strengthen our regional team who work in various districts. Minister of Industry and Commerce, Rishad Bathiudeen has stressed that the focus of the CAA is protecting the consumer,” a senior official told the Weekend Nation.

Accordingly, the official said the unit would assist the regional officials in carrying out raids in the event they face practical issues. “We need to step up our work to nab errant traders,” the official added.

The CAA had carried out 2006 raids in January this year and over 21,000 in 2016.

In addition, the CAA has also taken steps to involve the public in the process of nabbing errant traders. Accordingly, the authority is to set up a Centralized Consumer Society and Study Circle to enlighten the public on identifying substandard products in the market and alert the authorities.

Both units are being established on the advice of the Minister Bathiudeen. Accordingly, 62 individuals have been recruited to handle both units with more recruitments expected in the next few weeks. “We need to have societies that are made up of the public. We need the support of the people if we are to ensure that our actions are effective,” the official pointed out.

The Study Circle will also incorporate programmes among schools island-wide where children, teachers and parents are educated on consumer rights.

“We hope to introduce this at school level so that people will get to know this at a very early age,” the official said.