A news item appeared in a local media app alleged that Western Drugs Pvt Ltd, a well-known Udaipur based industrial unit operating for decades in Madri Industrial Area has been operating illegally while the nation is under lockdown. The news report was dated 8 April 2020.
As per information available on Circle app, the unit has been operating in the lockdown period in spite of orders to the contrary and the labour working in the unit have not been checked for relevant medical conditions. A number of allegations have been made in the news report and authorities have been asked to take action.
The news report on Circle App said that a unit of Western Drugs Pvt Limited is operating in Madri, with 150-200 workers and none of the labour have been tested under the relevant parameters. The news report, published on 8 April further says that the labour are working without any rules and regulations. Labour is doing doing a daily up and down from their homes to work and back. It also adds that the factory is operating in 3 shifts with approximately 100 workers per shift. It also alleges that there is no proper entry in the registers for workers entry and exit to the factory.
As this is a renowned business house of Udaipur, and being in the healthcare support (Drugs and medicines raw material) UdaipurTimes opted to enquire on these allegations and found them to be baseless.
On speaking to the management, we were told that the allegations are baseless, to which we enquired about the relevant documents and studied the procedures that were being followed.
Primarily, being in the drugs production business, the factory operates in an extremely controlled environment – with no room for errors. Each and every employee works in a highly managed and controlled work environment.
Videos of the Factory entry zone where the workers hands are beingsanitized before entering the factory
Video of the Sanitization of the public areas where Touch could lead to transmission of Virus
Video of the Sanitization of the Parking Area
Video of the Sanitization of the Public approach areas where touch could lead to infection
The factory has been identified in the essential commodities category and permission was given to the factory to work in its scheduled hours by RIICO when the lockdown was in place in Rajasthan till 31 March and then further extended permission when the national lockdown was announced by the Prime Minister.
As per the permission letter from RIICO (no. COVID-19/32 dated 2nd April 2020), Western Drugs Pvt Ltd has been identified as an industrial unit dealing in essential commodities and allowed to operate in the lockdown period. RIICO has verified that the unit, which deals in manufacturing “Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients” falls in the category of units that are exempt from closure in lockdown, as per the classification provided by the Home Ministry of both the Government of India and the state Government.
The permission letter further lists down a few mandatory parameters that the exempted unit must adhere to, for the purposes of allowing it to function unhindered. One of the parameters says that the workers must be provided stay at premises within the factory or a designated space, fully managed by the factory owner OR the worker must be allowed to stay at his regular accommodation and commute.
The workers are hence commuting from home to work like any other – be it the police, administration, media, healthcare workers, exempted traders, bank employees, etc. So this allegation of workers commuting between home and work is baseless and false.
The unit is providing hygienic working conditions even on a regular basis being in the drugs manufacturing business, and during the COVID times, is taking extra care. Social distancing is also being adhered to as per the photographs we have taken at the factory. Workers and Officers at the factory have also been provided with the authorized passes by the relevant authorities as per the orders of the Government of Rajasthan issued on 26 March 2020.
Unverified reporting of facts does create wrong opinion in the minds of readers, when they believe what they see or read, assuming that those who have delivered information to them, have taken care in assessing the facts to an optimal level and information is gathered from reliable sources. At times, each of us is guilty of the same.
It is high time that media, especially local media, should realise that it is our job to act as a precaution for unverified news and sometimes, act as a cure for unverified or FAKE news on social media.
Hence, even at the time of reporting on available information from reliable sources, if counter verified information is available, we should highlight the same.