DHARMAPURI: Dharmapuri residents complained to the district administration that pharmacies and medical shops are selling essential items, including masks, over the permitted prices. The State government had marked 15 items as essentials to tackle the pandemic last year. From these, a price cap was fixed on N95 masks, surgical masks, oximeters, and PPE kits for the welfare of the people.
N Anandhan, a resident said, "Due to rising COVID-19 cases, our office has asked everyone to wear masks again as a safety precaution. But when I went to buy masks, I saw that the shop was overcharging. For example, one two-ply surgical mask costs Rs 5, even though its price was fixed at Rs 2, while an N95 mask costed Rs 28 even though it was capped at Rs 22. They are overpricing these essentials for profits."
A Venkateshan, a manufacturer of masks, said, "We are selling 100 masks for Rs 150 to Rs 160. Meanwhile, many departmental stores and large shops sell 100 units of two-ply masks are sold at Rs 250. Many customers are now ignoring shops and directly buying from us, but even then our profits are meagre."
Officials from Health department told The New Indian Express, "So far, we have not received any complaints from the people. If people would come forward with complaints about any shop overpricing for essential commodities, we will take strict action against such shops."