Druggists protest licence fee hike

Drug sellers across Bangladesh on Wednesday shut down their business to protest a hike in their license fee. They say the shutdown is for a day to press for revoking the hike.“Almost 2 lakh drug stores will remain closed until 2 pm Wednesday,” said Bangladesh Chemist and Druggist Association’s Secretary Abul Kashem.
It is rare for drug sellers to shut shop even during troubled times and sponsors of strikes generally exempt them.
A visit to the Babubazar medicine market in the city’s Mitford area found all drug stores closed. The market is home to 2,000 wholesale and 1,000 retail drug stores.
Owner of Ananda drug store at Malibagh Super Market Saohodev Saha said no drug outlet in Malibagh, Moghbazar, and Rampura areas has opened on Wednesday.
Reports from different parts of the capital and elsewhere in the country said drugstores have joined the call for a daylong strike.
The license fee for a retail drug store has been increased to Tk 2,000 from the past rate of Tk 1,300. Drug stores in villages are required to pay Tk 1,000, up 35 percent from the previous rate of Tk 650.
The license fee for setting up a new wholesale drug store was raised the most– up by more 60 percent to Tk 10,000 from the previous rate of Tk 3,750. The license renewal fee has been fixed at Tk 5,000 instead of Tk 3,250.
“It is unacceptable that a day’s delay will lead to doubling of the license fee as fines,” said the association’s Deputy Secretary Monirul Islam.
He threatened a more intense agitation to back their demands.

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