Wednesday, September 17, 2008

‘Don’t give medicines to anti-national Kashmiris’

Naseer A Ganai/Arif Shafi
Srinagar, Sep 15: Kashmiris are anti-nationals if they directly trade with Indian companies, their nationalist credentials are proved only if they do the same through Jammu! At least the Jammu traders believe so.
Frustrated by the efforts of Kashmir based pharmaceutical distributors to get medicines directly from other Indian states in the wake of recent economic blockade, the pharma associates of Jammu have warned Indian and Multi-national pharma companies of stern action in case they directly supply medicines to the Valley.
In a memo to all pharma companies, under the heading “Follow the ethics or face action,” the honorary secretary of Jammu and Kashmir Pharma Associates, Rakesh Gupta writes, “Any organization attempting to disturb the existing distribution system in the state of Jammu and Kashmir after requests/threats from some anti-national Kashmir based associations, shall face non-cooperation from Jammu as also from rest of India.”
“It may be not out of place to mention that if any complaint is received by our association, every possible and impossible action shall be initiated against the defaulting companies not only through the different associations throughout our country but also the political parties. We warn the companies that our action against such defaulting anti-national company shall be so intense that will lead them to extinction,” the memo states.
Gupta has the cheek to contradict the letter of the divisional commissioner Kashmir to All India Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association regarding shortage of medicine in Kashmir valley following the economic blockade. The divisional commissioner, Kashmir, (vide his letter DivCom/PRO/Misc dated August 5, 2008) had given information to the Pharma companies about the shortage of medicine in the Valley.
Gupta says in threatening tone that “the divisional commissioner (Kashmir) should have understood the basic fact that the route to the Valley from any part of the country is through Jammu province only.” Gupta, in a letter to principal secretary to JK Governor, B.B Vyas, wants him to communicate to the divisional commissioner (Kashmir) to desist from issuing such letters in future “without ascertaining the facts to avoid chaos.”
Pertinently, the Valley faced acute shortage of medicine, baby food during past two months following the economic blockade imposed by Sangarsh Samiti and supported by Jammu traders. Even anti-rabies vaccine was not reportedly available leading to death of at least three patients.
The pharmacists of the Valley have termed the memo as “blackmail.” “First the pharmaceutical distributors of Jammu openly supported the extremist organizations which enforced economic blockade, including supply of medicines to the Valley. The Jammu pharmaceutical distributors seem to be frustrated as we have finalized the modalities with outside pharma companies to supply medicines directly to the Valley,” said general secretary of the Srinagar Chemists and Distributors Association, Arshad Hussain.
“We have seen patients dying for want of life-saving medicines. If Jammu pharma distributors think that they can force us to start trade with them, they are mistaken. We will sacrifice our business for respect and sanctity,” he added.
Hussain said the Indian and multi-national pharma companies are ready to supply medicines to the Valley without any formalities or conditions. He said Kashmir has the largest market for medicines equal to 70 per cent of the total state trade.
“If we do trade directly with Delhi, we are dubbed as anti-nationals. But if we do trade with Delhi pharma companies via Jammu dealers we are not anti-nationals. This is sheer hypocrisy,” Hussain added.
The president of Kashmir Medical Representatives Association, Abdul Qayoom said, “The management of our pharma companies at the behest of Jammu medical distributors and some extremist political parties, are threatening to transfer us outside the state if we extend support to the Valley pharmacists.”
Meanwhile, the Jammu-based JK Pharma Association (JKPA) has informed its dealers in Jammu to go for non-cooperation with Lupin Laboratories in Jammu from September 15. Lupin Laboratories was first to directly go for trade with Kashmir distributors without involving the Jammu middlemen.
Gupta has asked the Lupin Laboratories to give written apology within three days “or else non-cooperation would be extended to the company throughout India for its anti-national character by various associations and political parties.”
The JKPA has asked all the companies “to make it crystal clear to their Valley based field staff, stockists, super stockists that the distribution set-up shall never be changed by anti-national threats.” It has asked the companies to intimate this to the JK Pharma Association within three days. In case of failure all companies have been threatened of non-cooperation in Jammu.
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