Prices will be 10-15% lower than those at private chemists

Since the news of the launch of ‘Amma Marundhagam’ (Amma pharmacy), scores of customers are lining up near the store located on Nanganallur First Main Road, one of the 10 stores across the State that were inaugurated by Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Thursday.

The objective is to use the cooperative network to stock up medicines purchased in bulk from drug companies at a marginal discount and ensure sale at a slightly higher price, which would still be lower than retail market price.

D. Ponnivalavan, manager of Nanganallur Primary Cooperative Stores, which runs the pharmacy, said the prices would be 10 to 15 per cent less than those offered by private chemists.

“Drugs for blood pressure and sugar-related ailments are the most sought after. Medicines always top the list of monthly expenditure, and we want to be more cautious on that count,” said Lalitha Rao, a resident of The Hindu Colony.

Better discount

Welcoming the initiative, V. Rama Rao, State secretary of the All India BSNL Pensioners’ Welfare Association, said the department should offer better discounts. In Kerala, the government was giving a discount of close to 40 per cent.

The concept was introduced in 2010, when the Triplicane Urban Co-operative Society set up five medical shops in Chennai to sell drugs at reasonable prices. Following this initiative, other cooperatives opened nearly 40 medical shops across the State.

With the inauguration of ‘Amma pharmacy,’ one more service carrying the brand name ‘Amma’ has been launched. In February last year, ‘Amma Unavagam,’ low-cost restaurants, were declared open in Chennai initially and in other municipal corporations subsequently. Then came ‘Amma mineral water’ in September, under which a bottle of mineral water is being sold at Rs.10. A few weeks ago, ‘Amma Salt,’ an affordably-priced quality common salt, was introduced.

Buses commissioned

Special Correspondent reports:

Four hundred and sixty-three buses were commissioned by Ms. Jayalalithaa on Thursday for the State Transport Corporations (STC).

Of them, 87 buses were meant for the Metropolitan Transport Corporation; 109 for the Villupuram STC; 34 for Salem; 61 for Coimbatore; 109 for Kumbakonam; 46 for Madurai; and 17 for Tirunelveli. Their cost was Rs. 91.4 crore, according to an official release. Ms. Jayalalithaa also flagged off 39 refurbished buses (costing Rs. 2.05 crore) and seven mini-buses (Rs.1.19 crore) to be operated in hilly areas. Since the present regime assumed office in May 2011, 4,642 new buses, 712 refurbished buses and 107 mini-buses were inducted into service.

The Chief Minister also inaugurated a number of facilities, established at a cost of Rs. 14.8 crore, for devotees. They included 21 annadhanam centres (where devotees will be given free food), cottages, and employees’ quarters and the installation of high-mast lamps. Ms. Jayalalithaa, through videoconference, declared open an annadhanam centre at the Kandasamy temple of Thiruporur in Kancheepuram district.

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