On Saturday, former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and Leader of Opposition K. Palaniswami demanded that the DMK government to continue the Amma Pharmacy outlets that sell medicines at discounted rates.
AIADMK's Joint Coordinator Palaniswami also wondered "What the two expert committees set up by the DMK government to improve the state's economy and to take a look at ways to mobilise additional funds are doing?". Citing reports about the "Stalin's government's plans" to close down the Amma Pharmacy outlets, Palaniswami said the government should drop its proposed move to enable private outlets to rake in huge profits.
Refuting Palaniswami's allegations, the government said the number of Amma Pharmacies have gone up from 126 to 131 after the new government came to power. The Cooperative Department has been running 305 pharmaceutical outlets, of which 131 are Amma Pharmacies and the rest 174 are Cooperative Medical Stores, the government said.
Chief Minister M.K. Stalin had himself made a budget announcement that in the five years, additional 300 pharmacy outlets will be opened across the State at the rate of 60 per year, the government said. According to the government, action is being taken to start 75 new pharmacies in the current year, as against the target of 60.
The 131 Amma Pharmacies have sold medicines to the tune of Rs 44.88 crore in the current fiscal (up to 31.10.2021). Similarly, all the 174 Cooperative Medical Shops have sold medicines worth of Rs 48.21 crore. Put together, all the 305 Cooperative pharmacies have so for did a business to the tune of Rs 93.09 crore.
Moreover, steps are being taken by the Cooperative Department to go for centralised procurement by which it has been decided to increase the sales further in addition to benefit thousands of poor people.
According to Palaniswami, the DMK government is shutting down the people welfare measures of the previous AIADMK government like the Amma Canteen, selling food at subsidised rates, Amma Mineral Water (1 litre bottle sold at Rs 10), Amma Cement and others. He said the DMK government shut down the sales of Amma Cement priced at about Rs 190 - 216 per bag and launched the Valimai brand at about Rs 350/bag.
-With PTI Inputs