Nagpur: The Medical and Sales representatives led by Maharashtra Sales and Medical Representative Association (MSMRA) staged a mute protest in Nagpur with placards demanding rollback of increase in the price of Petrol and Diesel. The prices of Petrol and Diesel have been hiked for 19 days in a row and Diesel prices saw a leap surpassing the price of Petrol for the first time. The protest demonstrations were held in four prominent areas in Nagpur namely Medical Square, Lokmat Square, Cotton market and Pratap Nagar.
MSMRA, a Medical representatives’ Union affiliated to Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), demanded that the fuel prices hiked for 19th day in a row should be rolled back as it gave a huge blow the monthly budget of common working class people and especially those whose work involves a lot of travelling and use of vehicles.
“Already due to the unplanned lockdown, the Government has destabilized the financial security of the common people. Along with it and as a result of lockdown which led to an unprecedented slowdown in the market, many companies announced layoffs and pay cuts which further aggravated the already shaky financial situation of the employees in various sectors including the Pharma industry. The poor were hit badly due to the lockdown. And now we see that the moment lockdown was lifted, Government has hiked the fuel prices for 19 consecutive days.”, said Mr. Dilip Deshpande, Vice-President of MSMRA. He termed the fuel price hike as loot of common peoples’ hard-earned money.
Talking about the issues of Medical and Sales Representatives, Mr. Deshpande said that Medical Representatives have been working even during the lockdown and post-lockdown. The major pharma companies have either been removing their employees without payment or denying payment even for working during the lockdown. This has resulted in Medical Representatives facing the brunt of financial crisis. And now with increased fuel prices and due to lack of support either from the companies or from the Government, the Medical Representatives are trapped in adversity.
Along with the roll back of Fuel price hike, demands of MSMRA include reduction in hiked price of LPG cylinders and increase in Government subsidy for it, Direct transfer of Relief allowance of Rs. 7500/- per month from March to June 2020 to all those who have lost their job and those who are not under the income tax net, extension of MNREGA scheme for urban poor with Rs. 500/- per day wage and 10 kg free ration, and Zero percent GST on medicines, medical equipment and implants.
With regard to these demands, a memorandum was sent to the Prime Minister’s Office as well as the Chief Minister’s office of Maharashtra state.