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    Published On : Mon, Dec 16th, 2013

    Govt’s ESMA, High Court’s harsh order force medical shop owners to call off “Bandh” stir

    The medical shops to open from tomorrow. The Maharashtra Government invoked the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) which also covers the medicine stores as an essential service. And the High Court, the doors of which the medicine shop owners had knocked against the Government’s policy, ordered the chemists and druggists in the harshest words to first open their shops then the arguments.

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    Nagpur News: The Maharashtra Government and the Nagpur Bench of Bombay High Court delivered a decisive blow to the medical shop owners who had resorted to 3-day “Bandh” agitation from today and thus holding the Government and the patients to ransom.

    The Maharashtra Government invoked the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) which also covers the medicine stores as an essential service. And the High Court, the doors of which the medicine shop owners had knocked against the Government’s policy, ordered the chemists and druggists in the harshest words to first open their shops then the arguments.Now, the medicine shops to open tomorrow.

    The ESMA provides a powerful punch to Government. The Act gives Government the powers to arrest the persons who violate the provisions of the Act and also gives powers to cancel the licences and seal the shops permanently.

    The Maharashtra Government’s decision to invoke the power packed ESMA followed after  the medicine shop owners, not only snubbed warnings of Maharashtra Government and Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) by going ahead with 3-day “Bandh” agitation but also put thousands of patients with great difficulties. Moreover, the medicine store owners had put the Government and the FDA on notice by issuing a threat that any action against medicine shop owners would be taken seriously and the 3-day “Bandh” stir would be converted into an indefinite agitation. Subsequently, almost all medical shops in the city were closed. However, the victims of battle between the Government and the medicine shop owners were the patients and their relatives who have to run from one corner to another for vital medicines.

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    The Nagpur Division President of Maharashtra Chemists and Druggists Association Mukund Dubey and Nagpur District President Ravi Goyal, addressing a press conference said, “The medicine store owners from across the State would take out a Morcha to Vidhan Sabha onDecember 18 to press for their demands. The druggists would file a petition in the High Court against the State Government’s policy. The medicine shop owners would not bow to the Government’s threats of stern action against them. The Government is unnecessarily harassing the medicine shop owners despite having chemists in their shops.The officials have been misusing their powers,” said both Dubey and Goyal.

    The Maharashtra Chemists and Druggists Association has called for 3-day agitation by keeping their shops closed after the meeting between the Association and the Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan late on Saturday night fizzled out without any tangible solution.The Maharashtra Chemists and Druggists Association’s Secretary Navandan told the media that thousands of medicine shop owners have been issued show cause notices or facing suspension of licenses despite presence of pharmacists in the shops. The Administration is conspiring to permanently close down their shops by misusing its powers, Navandan claimed.

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