Syed Junaid Hashmi
When BJP, mostly dominant in Jammu region of state, is seeking abrogation of Article 370 which provides special status to state of Jammu and Kashmir, the Chemists in same region are citing same constitutional provision for their strike against the decision of state government to allow a non-state subject to open pharmacy shops inside government hospitals.
More than 5000 Chemist shops have been shut across Jammu region. The pharmacists have refused to sell drugs to practicing doctors, physicians and surgeons across Jammu region. They are seeking probe into the allotment of 57 medical shops to a Delhi based firm ‘Sanyog Enterprises Private Limited’ on the grounds that he is a non-state subject and hence, cannot open any shop in Jammu and Kashmir where state subject laws are stringent.
The chemists are urging upon the government to roll back its decision and not to allow a non-state subject to open shops in the government hospitals in Jammu region. “‘Sanyog Enterprises Private Limited’, a New Delhi based company has already opened 4 shops in Government Medical College (GMC) and Super-specialty Hospital (GMC&SSH) Jammu. Its owner Shiv Kumar Goyal is a non-state subject. Now the Health and Medical Education department has decided to open 57 more shops in all the government hospitals across Jammu region,” said a chemist.
Rakesh Gupta, president of Jammu Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Jammu Kashmir Chemist and Druggists Association, while talking to Kashmir Life said that the Jammu and Kashmir Medical Supplies Association was given mandate to procure and distribute medicines and medical equipment to Government Medical Colleges and Associated Hospitals with the purpose of centralizing the whole process of procurement.
“Jammu and Kashmir Medical Supplies Corporation Limited (JKMSCL) went further with malafide intention of accommodating non-state subjects to run chain of shops without any demand for running of 24X7 chemist shops as already many outlets have been provided by the government inside the government hospital. We feel this was purely done in lieu of exchange for favours and we see it as an attempt of larger plan by few government officers and politicians to eliminate the entrepreneurs who have not sought any aid from the government,” he said.
Accusing the state of favouring non-State Subject in allotting 57 shops to a single Delhi based firm, Rohit Sharma, the Convenor Jammu and Kashmir Chemists and Druggists Association (JKCDA), alleged that the tendering process adopted by the government was designed with malafide intent of allotting these shops to the aforesaid firm and all the quotations/offers received in lieu of NIT were quoted by the same persons who are either directors or partners in this firm.
He stressed that the process by which the tenders were manipulated and given to the non-State subject, which was the basic clause of the tender be enquired by CBI so that the culprits can be prosecuted and justice given to sufferers. President Jammu Chemists Association (JCA), Naveen Bali and General Secretary of Jammu Chemist Association Prem Sharma, said “We approached the concerned authorities many times for withdrawing the decision but due to nexus between vested interests outside and within the machinery, the government decided to set up these shops.”
The chamber along with Jammu Chemist Association and Jammu Pharmaceutical Association has threatened to intensify the strike if the government fails to cancel the allotment of shops to Sanyog and deviated from the much touted state subject law. “What use is Article 370 if non-state subjects are accommodated in this way? State government should step back or else we will be compelled to extend the strike. We would call off the strike only if government gives them a written assurance to rollback its decision,” said Bali.