Retailers, chemists urge government to help maintain supply chain amid lockdown

Meenakshi Verma Ambwani New Delhi | Updated on March 24, 2020 Published on March 24, 2020

CHEMIST-NPPA   -  The Hindu

Curbs placed by local authorities hurting supply of essential products, say industry associations

Retail and chemist associations have expressed concerns about the restrictions placed on the movement of their support staff — involved in the supply chain of groceries and medicines — by local authorities. With over 560 districts under a lockdown, they have urged the Central and State governments to ensure the supply chain of essential products is maintained.

In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the All India Organisation of Chemists and Druggists (AIOCD) said: “Retail chemists, wholesalers, C&F (carrying and forwarding agents) of drugs and medicines have their own supply chain ecosystems. It is reported from various locations that local police is objecting to the movement of support staff such as pharmacists, chemists, wholesale firm owners, loading and unloading labour and transport drivers engaged at pharmacies medicine distributors, pharma companies and C&F.”

The letter, which has been sent to various ministries, too, said the situation has been further aggravated as courier and transport firms engaged in medicine distribution are being asked to shut down.

“Unless an immediate intervention is made, by issuing a clear advisory to the home ministries of all the States, the entire supply chain will be paralysed and for no reason the availability (of drugs) will be adversely impacted,” said the AIOCD, which represents 8.5 lakh members.

Panic buying

Similarly, the Retailers Association of India (RAI) has urged all the State governments to allow food and grocery stores within malls and outside , “both small and large stores and offline and online”, to stay open during the lockdown period to curb panic buying of essential groceries.

“Most of the State governments have agreed with the RAI’s view that shutting of stores selling essential daily need items will cause gross inconvenience to citizens and may set off panic buying...thereby creating a shortage for the needy. The RAI has also requested that home deliveries be allowed to prevent people from stepping out of their homes,” it said in a statement.

The association has pointed to “unfortunate incidents in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Gujarat as local police are going beyond the word of law, beating the employees and delivery staff of such retailers, and taking them to chowkis (police stations) for doing their duty.”

Published on March 24, 2020

A letter from the Editor

Dear Readers,

The coronavirus crisis has changed the world completely in the last few months. All of us have been locked into our homes, economic activity has come to a near standstill. Everyone has been impacted.

Including your favourite business and financial newspaper. Our printing and distribution chains have been severely disrupted across the country, leaving readers without access to newspapers. Newspaper delivery agents have also been unable to service their customers because of multiple restrictions.

In these difficult times, we, at BusinessLine have been working continuously every day so that you are informed about all the developments – whether on the pandemic, on policy responses, or the impact on the world of business and finance. Our team has been working round the clock to keep track of developments so that you – the reader – gets accurate information and actionable insights so that you can protect your jobs, businesses, finances and investments.

We are trying our best to ensure the newspaper reaches your hands every day. We have also ensured that even if your paper is not delivered, you can access BusinessLine in the e-paper format – just as it appears in print. Our website and apps too, are updated every minute, so that you can access the information you want anywhere, anytime.

But all this comes at a heavy cost. As you are aware, the lockdowns have wiped out almost all our entire revenue stream. Sustaining our quality journalism has become extremely challenging. That we have managed so far is thanks to your support. I thank all our subscribers – print and digital – for your support.

I appeal to all or readers to help us navigate these challenging times and help sustain one of the truly independent and credible voices in the world of Indian journalism. Doing so is easy. You can help us enormously simply by subscribing to our digital or e-paper editions. We offer several affordable subscription plans for our website, which includes Portfolio, our investment advisory section that offers rich investment advice from our highly qualified, in-house Research Bureau, the only such team in the Indian newspaper industry.

A little help from you can make a huge difference to the cause of quality journalism!

Support Quality Journalism
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor
You have read 1 out of 3 free articles for this week. For full access, please subscribe and get unlimited access to all sections.