Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Profile of GOACAN

The Goa Civic and Consumer Action Network (GOACAN) was an initiative in activism launched in 2002 by the Goa Desc Resource Centre to consolidate its positive experience from 1998 in forming village level cells, samiti’s and forums to deal with the Civic and Consumer issues plaguing the common man in his respective village.

Today, in 2007 GOACAN as an organisation is presently working in both districts through volunteers with over 30 village based Civic and Consumer Forums covering 6 Talukas (Tiswadi, Bardez, Salcete, Quepem, Pernem and Mormugao).

GOACAN as a Voluntary Consumer Organisation (VCO) is also working to strengthen the Civic and Consumer movement by networking with housing societies, self-help groups (SHGs), Mahila Mandals among others.

GOACAN has an ongoing awareness program which is conducted through 6 campaigns

In this campaign information is provided about the rights of the consumer as per the Consumer Protection Act 1986, the functioning of the State & District Consumer Redressal Forums and Consumer Conciliation Committee. The campaign also covers use of Citizen Charters in Government Departments, complaint redressal by private and public service providers, use of help lines, participation in adalats, open houses etc.

In this campaign citizens are encouraged to participate in the Village Gram Sabhas, attend the fortnightly Panchayat meeting and the bi-monthly Municipal Council Meetings. Citizens are also encouraged to scrutinize the minutes of meetings, verify the Budget expenditure and examine the Audit Reports as a step to curb corruption and to demand transparency and accountability in governance. Besides, citizens are also encouraged to volunteer on the various committees at the Panchayat and Municipal level. The campaign also focuses on advocacy work with Members of the Village Panchayat, Zilla Panchayat, Municipal Council, Legislative Assembly and Parliament.
This campaign focuses on regular interaction between the Consumer Forums and the Directorate of Transport & Traffic Police through the sub-committees of the District Consumer Protection Council. It promotes the preparation of Road Safety and Traffic Management Plans at the Neighbourhood, Institution, Village Panchayat and Municipal level. It creates awareness on the rules of the road, unsafe driving practices, need for Road Safety Patrols (RSP) in schools and the role of the PWD in Road Engineering. It also advocates that Public Transport must be “Comfortable, Affordable and Safe”.

The campaign on Waste Management for Environmental Protection and Sustainable Consumption seeks to involve the consumer as a principal stakeholder by focusing on the consumption patterns and waste disposal practices. The campaign highlights the provisions of the Goa Non-Biodegradable Garbage Control Act 1996 (Goa Act 5 of 1997), Municipal Solid Waste Management Rules, the principles of Reduce, Reuse & Recycle, Segregation at Source and Polluter Pays besides methods to manage medical and toxic waste. The campaign also promotes methods such as home / garden composting, vermi-composting and use of EM (effective microbes.

In this campaign, awareness is created about the Right To Information Act 2005 (RTI) on how to use RTI by making necessary applications to the different authorities that can be approached for the same. The campaign through its “Drive Against Bribes using RTI” guides citizens to use RTI instead of paying bribes to get their work done in case of pending applications with the concerned Govt. Departments. Citizens are also encouraged to approach and file complaints with the Vigilance Dept. and the Directorate of Public Grievances for matters concerning Govt. of Goa and the Anti-Corruption Cell of the CBI for Central Govt. agencie

In this campaign awareness is created about the importance of Civil Liberties and Democratic Rights. Information is disseminated about the UN Charter of Human Rights, Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles as enshrined in the Constitution of India and various bodies such the National Human Rights Commission, State Police Complaint Authority, National Commission for Women etc. Information is also disseminated about the Judicial system and the use of the various Courts.

Besides the above Campaigns, GOACAN has a Complaints Cell and Rapid Action Cell to deal with the day to day civic and consumer grievances of the people at the grass root level which work through the Village Consumer Forum Volunteers.

Young Civic and Consumer Movement (YCM)

On 8th September 2006 on the occasion of “International Literacy Day”, GOACAN launched YCM to promote awareness on Civic and Consumer Rights in educational institutions such as High Schools, Higher Secondary Schools through the formations of Consumer Clubs and in Colleges through Consumer Welfare Cells. GOACAN conducts programs i.e. seminars, workshops, lecture series, poster exhibitions, complaint redressal sessions and orientation camps on the campus.

GOACAN actively promotes the following slogans
Information is power, share it equitably.
If you are not working for the solution, then you are part of the problem
Think locally, Act globally & Think globally, Act locally
Don’t agonise, Organise!

Goa Civic & Consumer Action Network
Roland Martins, Co-ordinator, GOACAN
Lorna B-Fernandes, Secretary, GOACAN

Post Box 78 Post Box 187
Mapusa 403 507 Margao 403 601
(0832) 2733277
Mobile: 9822180182