Members of All Food and Drugs Licence Holder Foundation to stage hunger strike in front of Mumbai's Haffkine Institute

Members of All Food and Drugs Licence Holder Foundation (AFDLHF) have decided to stage a hunger strike from November 12 in front of the Haffkine Institute at Parel. As they have claimed, despite regularly supplying medicines to the civic hospitals and medical colleges, the procurement cell of the Haffkine Institute hasn't provided them the money worth Rs 206 crore even after submitting the bills. In a letter written to the CM and the Haffkine Institute on Tuesday, the vendors have claimed that they don't even have money to pay salaries to their staffers in the festival seasons.

As per the rules of the state government, the Haffkine Institute is the only body that is responsible for the procurement of medicines all across Maharashtra. After getting selected in the tenders floated by the apex body, vendors supply medicines to civic and government-run hospitals, medical colleges, dispensaries among others. But as claimed by the vendors, since May, they haven’t received their pending money despite submitting the bills.

The All Food and Drugs Licence Holder Foundation (AFDLHF) in a letter written to Medical Education and Drugs Department (MEDD), the chief minister’s office, and the institute has stated, “Due to the non-receipt of the payments, our members’ financial condition has got disturbed. We don’t have the funds to pay the salaries to the staff/ workers. We don’t have money to buy raw materials,” reads the letter sent on November 11.

Members of AFDLHF have claimed that out of the pending amount of Rs206crore, Rs93 crore belongs to the Directorate of Medical Education and Research (DMER) and the remaining Rs113 crore are due with the Directorate of Health Service (DHS).

Abhay Pandey, president of AFDLHF said that if they delay the supply of medicines to the hospitals or colleges the concerned authorities blacklist the supplier, but what about those who don't give out money on time. Why is there no action on them? “The DHS has released our money but the institute hasn’t dispersed it to the vendors. We get blacklisted if we delay the supply of the medicines to the hospitals but what about our sufferings? We have sent several letters to the authority but no one pays heed to us,” he said.

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