- (PTI Photo)

Mumbai: Maharashtra Food and Drug Administration minister Dr Rajendra Shingane has asked manufactures of hand sanitizers to increase production, but warned of strict action if found supplying duplicate and adulterated ones. Those indulging in black marketing will not be spared, he added.

Dr Shingane held a marathon meeting with FDA officers at Nashik after the local administration had seized duplicate sanitizers. ''The FDA has conducted about 22 raids across the state and seized duplicate sanitizers worth Rs 1.50 crore,'' he said.

He admitted that there has been a spurt in the demand for masks and sanitizers. Therefore, the government has asked manufacturers to step up production.

Dr Shingane's move comes close on the heels of the centre's decision to put masks and hand sanitizers under the Essential Commodities Act (ECA) up to June 30, 2020, to ensure proper availability of these items in the market at a correct price in view of the outbreak of coronavirus.

The decision has empowered the states to regulate production, quality, and distribution of masks and hand sanitizers.

FDA officer said the administration had noticed that there were cases of non availability of surgical masks and N95 masks due to an increase in demand and black marketing. They are being sold at exorbitant rates.

''In some cases, it was found that masks with a retail price of Rs 300 are being sold at a range between Rs 1,000 and Rs 1,200 and hand sanitizers worth Rs 40 are being sold between Rs 100 and Rs 200. The government has decided to curb such unethical trade practices," he stated.

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