GURUGRAM: Authorities conducted searches in medicine shops across several NCR cities over the past 24 hours following complaints that they had been hoarding protective gear such as masks and hand sanitisers in order to jack up rates in the wake of the coronavirus.
In Gurugram, Amandeep Chauhan, Drugs Control Officer of FDA Haryana recovered 3.5 lakh masks and 2,500 bottles of hand sanitisers from various shops. These recovered items would now be sold from 40 stores across the city at low prices so that complaints of shortage can be addressed.
“Acting on a tip-off, we raided the shops in South City 1 and 2 market areas. Several of them were charging double the amount. We seized 3.5 lakhs N-95 masks and 2,500 bottles of 500ml sanitisers. We will release these goods into the market to avoid a crisis. There are enough stocks for residents,” said Amandeep Chauhan, the drug control officer for Gurugram.
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While a factory producing sub-standard masks was sealed in Ghaziabad’s Loni, the licences of five medicine stores in the city were suspended after they were found to be selling masks and sanitisers at 8- 10 times the original rate.
In Ghaziabad’s Shyam Nagar industrial area, a team led by sub-divisional magistrate Khalid Anjum raided a factory manufacturing fake masks. “The factory is owned by a Delhi resident, Shalini Arora. Masks were being produced here without any licence or permission from the department concerned.
The quality of these masks was not good enough for safeguarding against pollution,” Anjum said. The authorities sealed the factory premises and officials said further action would be taken against the owner once the department reopens after Holi.
Masks and sanitisers have been flying off the shelves amid Covid-19 fears. Authorities have appealed to medicine shops against hoarding such items and jacking up rates. But several shops in Ghaziabad were found to be selling masks at 8-10 times the price. Five such shops lost their drug licence after allegations against them were found to be true. No such inspection was conducted in Noida.
Ghaziabad district magistrate Ajay Shankar Pandey said the team that raided the shops was headed by the ADM (city), and had a drug inspector, city magistrate and additional city magistrate as members. At Maliwara Chowk, the owner of a shop was found selling masks for Rs 250 each. Another store was found selling sanitisers at MRP, but the inspection teams took samples for testing on the suspicion that they could be spurious.