Drug testing lab in Ernakulam facing uncertain future
The first regional drugs testing laboratory in Ernakulam, which was set to be launched this year seems to be facing an uncertain future with the delay in creating posts and a section of the employees allegedly scuttling the project for fear of transfers.
Though the building work for the laboratory has been completed and the necessary equipment installed by and large, the issue of sanctioning of posts has led to the delay of the launch, State Drugs Controller P Hariprasad said.
The file is now pending in the Chief Minister’s office and once it is cleared, there will be no further delay, he said.
Though the Drugs Control Department had recommended 79 posts for the regional drug testing laboratory, the Finance Department had sanctioned only 30 posts. However, the number of posts was further cut down to 26 allegedly after a section of the employees approached the government. The government seems to have decided to stick to 30 posts. Sources said that a few employees in the Drug Testing Laboratory at Thiruvananthapuram by using political clout had delayed the sanctioning of the posts for fear of getting transferred.
Once the regional lab is set up in Ernakulam, promotions can happen and some of those working at the Thiruvananthapuram lab would be shifted. Moreover, there is also an issue with respect to the post of Chief Analyst after the Drugs Department had recommended such a post at Ernakulam also.
Apart from the lab at Ernakulam, the fate of other regional drugs testing laboratories at Thrissur and Kozhikode is also uncertain. Though the government claims that the works have progressed, lack of sufficient funds is said to be causing problems.
The regional drug testing laboratories were envisaged after it was found that the lone laboratory in Thiruvananthapuram could not handle the bulk samples from across the state. Though about 5000 samples are collected a month from the market for conducting tests, the laboratory in Thiruvananthapuram has the facility to check only a limited number.
Moreover, there is also a backlog of three to six months in announcing the test results.