Srinagar: On Wednesday, the Jammu based pharma groups said that the opening of multi-brand stores in the region would lead to huge losses to as many as eight crore traders, facing a "collapse" in the wake of big chain stores entering the market.
President of the Jammu Pharmaceutical Distributors Association (JPDA) appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a presser in Srinagar to restrict the opening of these multi-brand stores to only metro cities or in the cities having "huge population".
The trade leader said that the traders and shopkeepers across the union territory face risk due to the devastating result and gloomy future due to the opening of physical stores by the big corporate brands.
"If the Government of India and head of states do not decide on this now, it will result in huge losses to approximately eight crore traders across the country who shall not be able to compete and ultimately collapse," Gupta said.
The JPDA president also cautioned that if ground realities are ignored, it will result in "Sab ka Vinash (everybody will be destroyed)" by rendering crores of people jobless.
"On one hand, we are promoting start-ups, and on the other hand, we are not protecting the existing and established ones. It's an irony," Gupta added.
The trade leaders also pointed out that Jammu and Kashmir's business community faces huge stress due to the back-to-back lockdowns during the coronavirus pandemic. Gupta said that most traders are unaware of the difficulties they will have to face and urged Pharma manufacturers and traders to take precautions and increase awareness about it.
Naveen Kumar Bali, president of The Jammu Chemists Association, said such big chains are offering a "honey bait" to the chemists with lucrative offers but appealed to the chemists' fraternity to be wise and not deal with them.
"We must transact business only with the existing network of Pharma companies with whom we have been doing business for decades and also that our mutual cooperation has kept the spurious drugs away from our market," Bali said.
Gupta also condemned the clarification issued by National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) and accused them of trying to sweep under the carpet by saying that their mandate was to seal the Maximum Retail Price (MRP) only.
"The larger mandate of the NPPA was to seal the MRP, keeping in view the margins allowed under the Drug Price Control Order to the wholesalers and the retailers. The mandate is not to fix MRP's allowing margins from 100% to 500%, thus not only looting the suffering patients across but also paving the way for the entry of spurious drugs because of the different selling prices," Gupta said.
The Jammu trader had earlier on September 22 observed a shutdown, on the call by The Jammu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI), to protest against the opening of Reliance Retail stores and other policies, they said, were a result of discrimination by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).