The Congress on July 10 slammed the Union government for removing masks and hand sanitisers from the category of essential commodities and accused it of colluding with MNCs for ‘profiteering’.

In a series of tweets, Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala asked what changed between June 16, when the government had notified sanitisers and face masks to be treated as essential commodities until the end of the year, and July 1, when the Ministry of Consumer Affairs decided to remove them as items under Essential Commodities (EC) Act 1955.

“Opportunity in Adversity” said the PM. The “unholy nexus” of BJP Govt with MNCs/Companies of profiteering at the cost of people stands exposed. Govt has removed face masks & hand sanitisers as ‘essential commodities’. Now, masks/hand sanitisers can be sold at any MRP!” tweeted Mr. Surjewala, who tagged the July 1 notification of the Ministry of Consumer Affairs.

The notification said the Ministry had decided not to continue these items as ‘essential commodities’ under EC Act beyond June 30 as there were no adverse reports from States and Union Territories (UTs) regarding price or availability.

The Congress leader also tweeted an earlier notification of June 16 to show the change in the government’s stance in 15 days.

“On June 16, BJP Govt said- As lockdown has been relaxed, demand for hand sanitisers may increase and it should continue to be covered under EC Act till Dec 31, 2020. Its continued availability is of paramount importance and to ensure its availability at affordable rates,” the Congress leader tweeted, citing the Consumer Affairs Ministry notification.

“1. If on June 16, hand sanitisers were “essential commodities” uptill 30th Dec, 2020; what changed in 15 days? 2. Why does the Govt wants the ppl to be charged high prices? 3. Why no price limit on these essentials to fight Covid-19 ? Is the war on #Covid over?” asked Mr. Surjewala.

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