Hyderabad: Former minister and ex-Leader of Opposition in Telangana Legislative Council Mohammed Ali Shabbir on Thursday demanded that the State Government take immediate measures to regulate the supply of surgical masks, hand sanitizers and reduce their prices.
Shabbir Ali, in a media statement, said that the prices of surgical face masks and hand sanitizers have increased by more than 10 times ever since the first case of coronavirus was confirmed in Hyderabad last week.
The surgical mask which was being sold for Rs. 3-5 per piece is now being sold for Rs. 25-30 per mask. Similarly, the hand sanitizers are not being sold at MRP.
“The increase in the number of coronavirus cases/suspect has created a sense of panic among the common people. As advised by the authorities, people want to take all precautions like wearing a mask and cleaning their hands with sanitizers. However, the precaution is turning out to be a burden on the common man due to a sudden increase in prices,” he said.
Further, the Congress leader said that the increase in prices was due to the huge gap between demand and supply. “As every person wants to buy a mask for himself and his family, the shortage was bound to happen. The State Government should have taken all measures to ensure the supply of surgical masks and sanitizers in adequate quantity.
Further, it should’ve ensured that there was no artificial shortage, hoarding or abnormal increase in their prices. But, as always, Health Minister Eatala Rajender held a few review meetings and gave statements making false claims,” he said.
Shabbir Ali said that the Health Minister had entered into denial mode when Telangana, especially Hyderabad, was badly hit with Dengue cases last year. Instead of taking preventive measures, he kept on denying the existence of dengue despite the fact that thousands were affected and several of them died in private hospitals.
He advised the Health Minister not to adopt a similar approach this time. “State Government should ensure that surgical masks, sanitizers and other medicines and equipment are available in required quantities. Ideally, the State Government should supply surgical masks to students and teachers in schools and colleges, employees at free of cost. It should also take stern action against pharmacies who are selling the surgical masks and hand sanitizers at extra prices,” he said.
The Congress leader appealed to the general public not to get panicked and take all preventive measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus.