Now GIS has the remedy against the cheating by the vegetable vendor. Starting in December,2003 consumers in West Bengal will be able to check out the prices of agricultural commodities throughout the state by just clicking on the website of the state consumer affairs department.
The site, www.wbconsumers. nic.in, will offer information on the weekly price trends at 5,000 markets spread over 17 districts of the state. It would list all the village markets along with the commodities available at each. Moreover, it would contain details of the panchayats under whose jurisdiction the markets fell and the way to reach them. “The exercise is aimed at ensuring that the ordinary purchaser is not cheated. It would also help the producer get an idea of the price trends customers are comfortable with,” said principal secretary of state consumer affairs department Pradip Bhattacharya on Thursday.
He said the department planned to give daily price trends at a later date. “With multinationals keen on investing in the food processing sector, it is imperative to provide them with authentic data,” added Bhattacharya. He said the department had already implemented the GIS for all the markets in the state, a first of its kind in the country, to provide such information.
The scheme was implemented by city-based IT firm Riddhi. “Our plan is to upgrade the GIS to include the availability of cold storage facilities among others,” said Riddhi managing director Kamal Pal. Riddhi has tied up with an NGO called Grasso (Gramin Sanchar Society), which in turn has entered into an arrangement with BSNL to provide cell-phones to two unemployed youths per panchayat.
These men would traverse the length of the village, collect information on the parameters set by the consumer affairs department and transmit those back to Grasso.
Source: Times of India
10th October, 2003,