Introduction to Blog

I launched the website and the Blog after having spoken to government officials, political analysts and security experts specializing in South Asian affairs from three continents. The feedback was uniformly consistent. The bottom line is that when Kashmiris are suffering and the world has its own set of priorities, we need to find ways to help each other. We must be realistic, go beyond polemics and demagoguery, and propose innovative ideas that will bring peace, justice and prosperity in all of Jammu and Kashmir.

The author had two reasons to create this blog. First, it was to address the question that was being asked repeatedly, especially, by journalists and other observers in the U.S., U.K., and Canada, inquiring whether the Kashmiri society was concerned about social, cultural and environmental challenges in the valley given that only political upheaval and violence were reported or highlighted by media.

Second, the author has covered the entire spectrum of societal issues and challenges facing Kashmiri people over an 8-year period with the exception of politics given that politics gets all the exposure at the expense of REAL CHALLENGES that will likely result in irreversible degradation in the quality of life and the standard of living for future generations of Kashmiris to come.

The author stopped adding additional material to the Blog once it was felt that most, if not all, concerns, challenges and issues facing the Kashmiri society are cataloged in the Blog. There are over 1900 entries in the Blog and most commentaries include short biographical sketches of authors to bring readers close to the essence of Kashmir. Unfortunately, the 8-year assessment also indicates that neither Kashmiri civil society, nor intellectuals or political leadership have any inclination or enthusiasm in pursuing issues that do not coincide with their vested political agendas. What it means for the future of Kashmiri children and their children is unfathomable. But the evidence is all laid out.

This Blog is a reality check on Kashmir. It is a historical record of how Kashmir lost its way.

Vijay Sazawal, Ph.D.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

When Greed Meets Opportunity

Spurious medicines in Kashmir is a relatively recent phenomenon and can be attributed to growing lawlessness in the society

Sale of sub-standard, spurious medicines surges; authorities in slumber

Zeenat Zeeshan Fazil (Kashmir Images)

Srinagar: An alleged nexus between pharmacists, medical representatives and corrupt doctors is being blamed for mushrooming of illegal medical shops across the Kashmir Valley. A senior official of Drug Control department, requesting not to be named, said, “The nexus is promoting the sale of counterfeit and sub-standard drugs in Kashmir.” He said even the supplies which are being purchased by different hospitals of the Valley “are of sub-standard quality”.

According to him, the mushrooming of illegal medical shops in the Valley has not only given rise to the dangerous trend of self-medication but is forcing people to consume sub-standard drugs. “Not to speak of rural areas, even in Srinagar city there are scores of such outlets,” the official confessed.The drugs, which are supplied to government hospitals, usually do not conform to the specifications laid down in the Drug Act, he informed. As per the terms of supply, drugs supplied should match the specification laid down in the Drug Act and payment to the suppliers is to be released only after successful test are conducted on these drugs by the Drug and Food Control Organization.

Chief Medical Officer of SMHS Hospital, Dr. Altaf Ahmed told ‘Kashmir Images’: “Outside the SMHS Hospital, 60 percent medical shops are illegal and the drugs available are usually of sub-standard quality, the higher authorities are aware of it but they hardly take any action.”Such shops are opened at every corner of the city, he regretted, adding that someone who has works only for three months in any medical shop, opens his own shop in the fourth month “and in this way they are playing with the lives of people and nobody is stopping them.”He further informed that when the contract of any drug is given to any company, “at that time the samples received by the department are up-t-the-mark, but later that quality is not maintained and that happens because there is nobody to check it.”

When asked how many times the drug department has visited the SMHS Hospital in the last three months, Dr. Altaf informed: “To my knowledge they have never visited even though I request them to visit frequently in order to check diverse samples … If they do so, they will also serve to the society.”

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