The genesis of Grahak Peth lies in the Grahak Panchayat founded by Dr.B.R.Sabde and Shri Bindumadhav Joshi in the year 1974 in collaboration with his young associate, Shri Suryakant Pathak. The Grahak Panchayats have made use of the rights and protection given to consumers by the various government agencies and legislation and have primarily relied on constructive and organized mobilization of consumers. This movement proceeded on the basis that the consumer is at the centre of all economic activity. He is the prime mover of the business and also its main capital. The welfare economy can come into reality only when business and industry become consumer-oriented. This consumer movement did not simply aim at obtaining goods and services at reasonable prices. It has tried to spread the message that there is no contradiction between the interests of consumers and producers, traders, farmers, employees and employers. Let everyone focus on delivering to the consumer the full return of money he spends. This is the way of harmony and not conflict; to strive to satisfy the consumer is to strive for a non-exploitative economy.
Shri Pathak handled several responsibilities of this fledgling organization with dedication and hard work. His experience of handling the distribution system of the Panchayat culminated in the founding of a full-fledged Departmental Stores, the GRAHAK PETH - inaugurated on the holy day of Ramnavami in 1977 ( 10th April ) of which he became the Managing Director.
The Grahak Peth of Pune run by the Janata Madhyawarti Sahakari Sangh is not merely a co-operative departmental store, content simply with making goods available to the members across the counter. It actively seeks to identify the problems faced by consumers with regard to their daily requirements and work out solutions in collaboration with producers so as to deliver satisfaction to the consumers. Thus the Grahak Peth has become a model of harmonious relationship of a consumer-producer dyad.
This institution has scrupulously kept itself free from the contaminating influence of power politics. None of the directors of this stores can simultaneously hold the directorship in the co-operative movement and contest for local, state or national elections. It has become a beehive of activities, which is constantly engaged in combating exploitation of consumers and promoting consumer welfare at the same time. Besides providing the daily necessities to the consumers, the Grahak Peth also provides necessary guidance and help for redressal of their grievances. Thus the Grahak Peth is charting out a unique path from the struggle against exploitation to the struggle for economic transformation. It actively searches out consumer problems of shortages, high prices, and poor quality and takes direct action to solve them, thereby creating a general impact on trade and merchandise in the whole of Pune metropolitan region, which is the area of their operation. Hence, at the Grahak Peth, the consumers receive the right quality goods at fair prices, and the producers receive a fair price as well. At Grahak Peth, consumer is considered as the focal point of all the dealings. Grahak Peth has in fact adopted the motto “Consumer is the King” and every effort is made to ensure that he receives fair value for his money.
In recognition of its significant work, Grahak Peth was honored in the years 1994 and 2003 with the prestigious Jamnalal Bajaj Award for “ Fair Business Practice”.
Recently, the National Cooperative Consumers Federation , under their all-India survey of consumer stores, has selected Grahak Peth as Excellent cooperative stores.
Grahak Peth has been accorded “Grade A” by the Statutory Auditors of the Government for the last entire forty years.