JAMMU: More than three months after 12 kids from poor families in Ramnagar area of
had died due to consumption of spurious cough syrup,
National Human Rights Commission
) has now issued notices to the chief secretary of
& Kashmir and secretary of union ministry of health and family welfare seeking report from them on the matter within four weeks.
Jammu-based social activist Sukesh C Khajuria had filed a complaint with NHRC on April 3 seeking action against the delinquent government officials and compensation for the aggrieved families. Referring to an official communique received from assistant registrar (law), NHRC, Khajuria said, "The commission has directed its registry to transmit a copy of the complaint to the chief secretary of J&K and the secretary of the union ministry of health and family welfare calling for a report within four weeks."
"The order states that in case the reports are not received within the stipulated time, the commission shall be constrained to invoke coercive process under section 13 of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 for personal appearance of the authorities concerned,” Khajuria added.
Khajuria had contended that most of the children who died belonged to poor families and their parents had little comprehension of what happened to their kids. “Many do not even have copies of the prescriptions any longer as probing officials have taken these away,” he said.
Referring to the accident, Khajuria had submitted that a high-level team of experts from the union health and family welfare ministry had visited the area and confirmed the deaths due to presence of diethylene glycol in the syrup procured from a local chemist and manufactured by Ms Digital Vision Pharmaceutical Company of Kala Amb, district Sirmaur,
. In a report dated March 2, a regional drugs testing laboratory had stated that the samples of the syrup were not of standard quality as defined in the Drugs & Cosmetics Act. The pharmaceutical company's licence was later suspended and an FIR was registered against it.
Khajuria hoped that NHRC would order adequate compensation for the affected families and recommend action against guilty officials.