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Govt in for hostile reception on Darbar move

india Updated: May 05, 2013 00:47 IST
Peerzada Ashiq

With a day left for the state government offices to resume work in summer capital Srinagar, the regime is set to have a face-off with agitating civil society members and political groups over the drug scam pertaining to supply of huge quantity of fake medicines to hospitals in the state.

Several groups have given a shutdown call for Monday to protest against chief minister Omar Abdullah's mute response to the scam, which allegedly involved senior Congress leader Sham Lal Sharma, former health minister during whose tenure substandard drugs were purchased.

Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) president Dr Nisar-ul-Hasan has called for a shutdown against the government failure "to arrest and remove officials and ministers involved in the scam". "We appeal to people to observe a strike on the first day the secretariat opens in Srinagar. All those involved are moving freely. The government should remove those involved in the drug scam, including Sham Lal Sharma," said Hassan.

The government offices are shifting from winter capital of Jammu to summer capital Srinagar on May 6. It is known as Darbar move, wherein hundreds of employees along with files and papers will shift to the Valley for summer months.

Political leaders are also planning to take on the government over the scam. Engineer Rashid, MLA from north Kashmir's Langate constituency, on Saturday said he will not allow the chief minister and his colleagues enter the secretariat on the eve of its opening in Srinagar.

"Omar Abdullah has failed to act fast against the accused and those involved in the drug scam. Everybody was expecting that Omar Abdullah could have at least thrown Sham Lal Sharma out of his cabinet," said Rashid.

He warned the administration of stern consequences "if it tried to stop the peaceful march towards the civil secretariat on May 6". The MLA reiterated his full support to the Medical Employees Joint Action Forum, which has called for a strike along with DAK.

Meanwhile, a meeting of Majlish Shoora, an apex body of Karwani Islami, was held in Srinagar on Friday to discuss the drug scam. The Karwani Islami's president extended full support to the strike call. "Why don't they take action against those officials who are directly or indirectly involved in the scam?" he said.

The scam
Two major supplies of life-saving drugs to the government hospitals --- antibiotic Maximizen-625 and Curesef --- were found unfit and spurious by the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation, union ministry of health and family welfare, and local drug control department in Srinagar last month.

The substandard drugs were supplied to the government hospitals across the state. Curesef, which failed drug tests twice in 2011 and 2012, continues to be administered in hospitals, suggests a fresh report of the drug control department.