Jammu, December 25: The state health department has allotted shops to the chemists inside every hospital for selling medicines within the premises of hospitals.
As per the terms and conditions of the allotment of these shops the licensee should give 15% discount on MRP of branded medicines, 30% discount on MRP of generic and branded generic medicines and 30% on MRP of consumables/surgical items.
However, the shops inside the premises of different hospitals inside the state of J&K agree to give only 3 to 5% discount.
This disclosure was made through a reply to a RTI filed by Balvinder Singh, an activist and convener of Sangarsh RTI Movement — a body of RTI activists. The RTI sought information regarding the terms and conditions for allotment of shops for selling medicines within the premises of hospitals both in PGI, Chandigarh, and Hospitals of Jammu and Kashmir.
It has come as a shock that on one hand where PGI offers discount upto 30% in the fair price shops, the shops inside all major hospitals and health departments in Jammu and Kashmir are giving a concession of only 4%. Further, a physical verification revealed that most of these shops sell medicines without bills and discount. In a majority of the shops, there was no mention of discount.
Over the allotment of shops and period of license, allotment of shops in the premises of PGI was made through inviting tenders. The shops are initially allotted for a period of three years and it is extendable by the PGI subject to the satisfactory service of the licensee. However, in Jammu and Kashmir, the allotments were made purely on pick-and-choose policy. All the laid-down norms for allotting such shops are being ignored and some shops have been allotted for life term to influential.
It was disclosed in the RTI reply, the allotment of fair price shop in the sub-district hospital at Chadoora was made for life term, while the agreement of some of shops shows that the period of allotment range from three to five years. “Not a single shop is vacated or asked by the authorities to vacate who have completed their allotted period or those who have violated the laid-down conditions during the past two decades,” the documents said.
Ironically, a majority of shops were allotted by Deputy Commissioners, Chief Medical Officers, Divisional Commissioners, Principal, government medical colleges and Director, Health Services on a meagre rent ranging from Rs 100 to Rs 600 without adopting proper procedure of inviting bids for such allotments and signing an agreement with the allottees.