Special Correspondent

Council calls for Government intervention

Call to ensure supply of

essential drugs

Roll-back in

prices sought

Thiruvananthapuram: The City Corporation Council on Wednesday accused pharmaceutical companies of exploiting the recent outbreak of epidemics in the State to hike the price of life-saving drugs.

The council adopted a resolution calling for Government intervention to roll-back the price rise and ensure the supply of essential drugs through Government-controlled outlets such as Neethi Medical Stores and Cooperative Medical Stores at fair price.

Moving the resolution, Vazhuthacaud ward councillor Rakhi Ravikumar alleged that pharmaceutical companies were fleecing the public. “Prices of almost all drugs, including those for diabetes, cholesterol and blood pressure, have been increased by up to 30 per cent. At a time when voluntary agencies and cooperative institutions are extending support to the Government to tackle the outbreak of epidemics, drug-manufacturers are using the opportunity for profiteering,” she said.

The resolution was unanimously adopted.

ID cards for pensioners

Welfare standing committee chairman P. Rajendra Das said identity cards would be made mandatory for disbursement of assistance under various social security and pension schemes. He said a recent pension adalat organised by the Corporation had revealed that the assistance disbursed to 300 beneficiaries was being claimed even after their death. The matter was being investigated, he said.

“As many as 10,000 identity cards with photographs have already been distributed to pension beneficiaries. We hope to complete the process by September 3,” he said.

Action sought

The council witnessed a heated discussion on the failure to initiate action against a hypermarket at Pazhavangady for violation of building rules. Ruling front councillors demanded information on the action taken against the operators for deviating from the approved building plan and diverting the parking space. They wanted the licence of the institution to be cancelled.

Health standing committee chairman G.R. Anil said a furniture mart on the third floor of the building did not even have the mandatory licence from the Corporation. “The high- power generator in the building is also functioning without certification from the local body. Despite being issued notice, the operators have failed to demolish the unauthorised constructions or secure the necessary trade licence.”

Works standing committee chairman Rajasekharan Nair said Corporation officials had defied a council resolution by issuing a licence to another retail chain outlet at Kadakampally. “The council had adopted a resolution in June making it mandatory to seek its consent for the issue of new trade licence for outlets above 5,000 sq. ft area. Yet, the Kadakampally Health Inspector has issued licence without referring the matter to the council.” He demanded action against the official concerned.

United Democratic Front councillors said the council had failed to rein in corrupt officials in the Town Planning department. Deputy Mayor V. Jayaprakash said moves were on to streamline the operations of the section and ensure transparency. Town Planning committee chairman R. Satheeshkumar informed the council that the operators of the hypermarket had failed to respond to the notice issued by the Corporation. He said the Corporation had sanctioned an advance of Rs.15,000 to demolish the unauthorised constructions in the building and restore the parking space.