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State faces acute shortage of medicines due to extortion
Staff Reporter DIMAPUR, MAY 15 (NPN):
Published on 16 May. 2009 1:04 AM IST
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Almost 50 % of the life saving medicines has run out of stock in the market as the transporters have stopped bringing medicines to Dimapur owing to extortion demand served to them by a certain faction. Medicos said they would be compelled to down their shutters due to non-availability of stocks if the trend continued for more than one week. Speaking to pressmen on Friday, Nagaland Medicine Dealers’ Association (NMDA) general secretary, Basu Damani said it has been 15 days since the transporters brought any medicine. He said the transporters informed that a certain faction had demanded a huge amount of money to be paid every month. He also said the transporters have refused to bring medicines to Nagaland since the end of April as they could not pay extra tax to any faction. “Since the last 15 days no medicines are coming to Nagaland and almost 50 % medicines are short in the market,” Damani said. He said the NMDA had tried its best to pursue the transporters to compromise and bring medicines to the state but to no avail. He also said 75 % of medicines would not be available by next week and that the NMDA would have no other option but to call for closure of all medical shops in the state due to non-availability of medicines. He said the NMDA president Ato Yepthomi on Friday informed the deputy commissioner Dimapur of the situation and requested him to take initiative in resolving the crisis. Damani said the transporters were bringing the medicines from Guwahati which is the stock point of the other NE states. It may also be mentioned that in Manipur also, extortion demands had left medicine dealers with no choice but close down as transporters refused to deliver goods. Ghorapatti shut In what could has become a common occureance in Dimapur, the manager of an auto parts shop located at Ghorapatti, Golaghat Road was assaulted by some miscreants who demanded money from him, Friday. The police later arrested one of the miscreants. All the shops of the area were downed shutters as traders blocked the road for nearly two hours protesting against extortion by miscreants. Election Commission Observer for Assam was also stranded in the blockade while on his way to Dimapur airport. According to manager of N K Chophy enterprises, four miscreants went to the shop at around 9 am and demanded Rs.200. When the manager refused to pay saying he had punched bu one of the miscreants. By that time, a crowd had already gathered and the miscreants fled the scene through the back of the shop leading to rail track. All shops at Ghorapatti area were immediately closed down protesting against the incident. SDPO Dimapur rushed to the spot and held a meeting with the business community members along with the area council members. DMC chairman along with president of the Dimapur Chamber of Commerce (DCC) also reached the spot followed by the ADC. Meanwhile, one of the miscreants identified as one Heto Chishi (22), son of Akovi Chishi of Niu Colony, Burma Camp was arrested by the police. DMC chairperson, Khekaho and DCC president, Kasheto have expressed gratitude to the police for nabbing the culprit. They also suggested setting up of Resident Welfare Association (RWA). Most of the traders alleged that they were beaten up on several occasions by miscreants even after paying money demanded from them. Traders alleged that few persons were collecting Rupees 50 every month in the name of DMC. Meanwhile, DCC president, Kasheto warned that the DCC would call for an indefinite strike in case proper security was not provided to the business community. He also said the business community would be forced to approach the Union Home Ministry if the government failed to provide security to the business community.

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