By- Ojasvi Singh
Over a fortnight, Uttar Pradesh police have arrested about 89 individuals for hoarding and selling drugs, equipment, and other therapeutics required in the treatment of coronavirus in the black market. The latest arrest was made this Sunday i.e., May 2nd, 2021 in Kanpur. The two accused were trying to sell drugs and medical equipment at an extortionate price. The recovered items include Remdesivir and PIPT 4.5 GM injections, oxygen cylinders, oximeters, and ₹ 49,00,000 cash. Two days ago, 747 remdesvir vials and 349 oxygen cylinders cash 11.5 lakh and four cell phones have been recovered from people engaged in black-marketing Lucknow.
The Chief Minister of the state had recently instructed the concerned officials to take stern action against people involved in the illegal purchase and sale of essential drugs. The state police have been following a zero-tolerance policy to instill fear in the mind of culprits. “It is a crime against humanity and those involved in illegal stocking and black marketing of Covid-19 vaccines and medicines shall not be spared’’ he said. In such distressing times, when the coronavirus infected cases are increasing with each passing minute, the state police along with UP Special Task Force (STF) on the instructions issued by the government has launched a statewide drive to check any illegal hoarding and overpricing of essential drugs and equipment to ease their availability as much as possible. Raids are also been conducted round the clock to check black marketing. Additional Directorate General of Police, law, and order, Prashant Kumar said that NSA (National Security Act, 1980) and Gangster Act (called Uttar Pradesh Gangsters and Anti-Social Activities Prevention Act) would be invoked against all the arrested persons.
In an earlier campaign against the alleged black marketing, Lucknow police had recovered 116 remdesivir injections from a contractual nursing staff of King Medical George University situated at Lucknow. They have been using codes like ‘roti’ and ‘lunch box’ to sell the items. Besides, various other intelligence agencies have also been deployed to check illegal sales by carrying out raids and regular monitoring.
The control room set up by the Food Safety and Drugs Administration Department on the instructions of the state government, to ensure a continuous supply of oxygen to hospitals in all districts remains active 24 hours and is keeping a strict vigil to assure oxygen is only being used for medical purposes. In addition to this, a helpline at the district level has also been issued to probe the alleged irregularities in the procurement of medical equipment pertaining to Covid-19. In view of the current covid situation, the injections and cylinders recovered from the accused are being used to treat people instead of making them a case property to ensure speedy treatment of the infected.