Other States

Can’t stay open 24x7 with police brutality, say chemists

Retail and wholesale associations say shops are working at half the staff strength as staff fear harassment

The government’s guidelines to keep chemist shops open 24x7 will not work if their employees continue to face police harassment and brutality, pharmacy associations have said.

The All India Organisation of Chemists and Druggist (AIOCD) said in a letter that 7,000 chemist shops in Mumbai are already working at half the strength and police harassment will make it difficult to adhere to the guidelines. The association said they have enough stock to tide over the crisis, provided the government takes cognisance of their demands.

“Most of our staff has to arrive across the city from far-flung areas like Vasai and Virar. When the lockdown started, the police took a high-handed approach to treating our men, which led to a feeling of fear among the staff. They have since been holed up inside their homes and we have run the shops with less than half the strength,” said J.S, Shinde, the president of AIOCD, India’s largest umbrella association of medicine shops.

Pharmaceutical wholesalers said at some locations, they were unable to supply stock to retailers owing to manpower shortages at godowns and wholesale warehouses. Maharashtra State Chemist and Drug Association president Hukumraj Mehta said most shops are operational despite the hiccups. “We are willing to pay them overtime, but due to fear of the police during transportation, most of them are not even turning up for duty.”

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Printable version | May 27, 2020 12:05:13 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/cant-stay-open-24x7-with-police-brutality-say-chemists/article31188152.ece

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