Minister for Cooperation C.N. Balakrishnan said here on Wednesday that the government would source medicines directly from pharmaceutical companies and sell them through cooperative medical stores to be established in all panchayats.

Presiding over a function held at Kuttichal near here to mark the State-wide inauguration of cooperative consumer fairs, he said the project was aimed at making drugs available at a fair price.

Discussions on

The Minister said discussions were on under the leadership of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy to implement the scheme.

He added that mini-Triveni stores would be set up at more than 1,000 panchayats. Mr. Balakrishnan added that the objective of Consumerfed fairs was to check the artificial price rise created by monopolists during seasons of high demand.

Stress on quality

In his inaugural address, Speaker G. Karthikeyan stressed the need to maintain quality standards even at discounted prices. The cooperative consumer fairs, set up in connection with the Bakrid festival, have commenced functioning at 63 taluk-level centres in the State.

As many as 21 day-to-day essential commodities will be available, at prices lesser by 20 to 60 per cent than in the open market.

The first sale was made by president of the District Cooperative Bank S. Sundaresan. Consumerfed president Joy Thomas; Managing Director Riji G. Nair; vice-president N. Sudarshanan; and Director Molly Stanley were present.