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Friday, Aug 23, 2019

Chemists shut shop across Delhi to protest govt’s e-portal regulation

Chemists across India shut shop on Tuesday to protest the union government’s move to bring in an e-portal on which they would have to log in all sales and purchases

delhi Updated: May 30, 2017 22:40 IST
Anonna Dutt
Anonna Dutt
Hindustan Times
All-India Organisation of Chemists and Druggists (AIOCD) organised a nationwide chemists strike across India.
All-India Organisation of Chemists and Druggists (AIOCD) organised a nationwide chemists strike across India.(Geetika Varshney/ Hindustan Times)

Most chemist shops across India shut shop on Tuesday to protest the central government move to introduce an e-portal where the chemists would have to maintain records of their sales and purchases.

In Delhi, chemist shops near big hospitals such as All India Institute of Medical Sciences and Lady Hardinge remained open. Shops in commercial areas such as Connaught Place opened shutters in the afternoon.

“We stock several life-saving drugs. So, even the association wanted us to open our shop in the afternoon as several people travel from different corners of the city to get medicines from here,” said Rippon Nath, owner of Nath Brothers pharmacy in Connaught Place.

More than 8.5 lakh chemists across the country participated in the strike, 15,000 from Delhi.

“The strike was successful, almost 100% of the chemist shops participated. We had asked the shops near hospitals to stay open because we did not want to inconvenience patients,” said Jagannath Shinde, president of All India Organisation of Chemists and Druggists (AIOCD).

“The government informed us in March no chemist shop can operate without registering with the e-portal. Also, we have to file the records of sales under the new GST bill. Why make us do it twice. We have to pay for the installation and maintenance. We have to pay 1% of our income to the e-portal. Don’t we pay enough taxes?” said Shinde.

The availability of internet connection is also a problem. “In Delhi and Mumbai and metro cities it is fine. But, what about a place like Arunachal Pradesh. Chemists there might have to travel hours to go to a cyber cafe,” he said.

The chemists also want the government to regulate sale of medicines on online portals.

Wholesale markets in Delhi’s Bhagirath Place remained shut. “None of the wholesale shops here were open today. Bulk sales of medicines to several parts of the country happen from here. So, the entire medicine trade was affected. However, this would not have affected the hospitals as they have reserve stock and have tenders with suppliers,” said Darshan Mittal, president of the Delhi Drug Traders Association.

First Published: May 30, 2017 22:39 IST

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