Chemists in panic mode as lockdown hits supply chain in IOK


Srinagar, March 26, 2020 (PPI-OT): In occupied Kashmir, the chemists and pharmacists in Srinagar have said that the authorities are not allowing them to move, which is hampering dispensation of medicines. The Indian government has announced 21-day lockdown in India and occupied Kashmir to curb spread of coronavirus pandemic. Only exemption from lockdown is the essential services including the supply and distribution of medicines.


As per estimates, in the Kashmir Valley, there are around 6,000 chemist shops and around 1,000 drug wholesalers, who ensure supply of medicines to patients. However, the medicine distributors as well as chemists said they are worried as the authorities have not provided them any movement passes which is hampering their work. To add to it, the lockdown which has forced closure of surface as well as air link to Kashmir has made them fearful that their existing stock won’t last more than 15 days.


“Indian government has announced lockdown; we wholeheartedly support it as it is for the benefit of the people, but at the same time there is no direction to the security personnel to allow us free movement in order to perform our job,” said President, Kashmir Chemist and Druggist Association, Fayaz Azad.


“Authorities must understand there is supply chain which ensures supply of medicines to patients. If our suppliers or their workers are not allowed to move, how can medicines reach patient?” Azad asked. He added that the authorities must devise a mechanism to ensure supply of medicines to occupied Kashmir as the road and air traffic has been halted.


Bashir Ahmed, a pharmacist while commenting on the problems confronted by them said that the authorities must issue movement passes to people working in the supply chain of medicines so that there was no shortage of drugs.


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