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Chemists’ bandh today, threaten to step up stir

Jalandhar, July 30: Upset over action against more than 1,370 chemists in the state till Thursday, the Punjab Chemists’ Association which will observe a statewide bandh on Monday has declared that in case the government remains unresponsive to its demands, it will launch an indefinite strike after five days.

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For the past almost a month, chemists have been demanding that the online sale of medicines be stopped and the crackdown against them be discontinued. The association has about 25,000 members. During a meeting held in Ludhiana on Friday, the chemists decided to intensify their stir after giving a five-day ultimatum to the government.

Association president GS Chawla said: “Of the over 1,350 chemists targeted in the state, a majority are innocent. We are for action against the erring persons. But very few arrested persons are licence holders. Many aren’t even members of our association.”

He added that though only drug department officials were authorised to carry out inspections, SDMs, patwaris, tehsildars and police officials were randomly conducting checks and videographing the proceedings. “They come and look for blue tablets – even if they don’t even know the tablets’ names. In the name of Mission Tandarust Punjab, licensed chemists are being targeted. Why aren’t any of the suppliers or wholesale peddlers nabbed?”

Surinder Duggal, general secretary of the association, said: “We met the Health Secretary, Health Minister and the Drug Controller, but have got only assurances. Neither has the online sale been stopped nor the big suppliers nabbed.”

Source Tribune India

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