THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Police intervened and halted a mysterious survey which was going on for the past one month in areas near Beema Palli setting panic among local people. The survey was reportedly conducted by a Vellayambalam-based research agency ‘Socio Economic Unit’, for multinational companies such as Unilever Research Medicine UK, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Intertab CRS Ltd.
Soaps and toilet mugs with concealed microchips were distributed to locals a few days ago. People were asked to return them after three or four days of use and Rs 400 was offered to people of each home as a reward. “Two ladies and one foreigner came to the area to convince us about the use of the soaps and mugs. They told us that they just needed to test skin problems of our children and how the use of the soap could reduce it. We were not even aware that it was a survey,” said Safarullah,the first to inform the police about the mysterious nature of the survey.
He told ‘Express’ that other locals who were given the soaps and mugs at the initial stage of the survey had no chance to detect the microchip inside the soap,for they had to return it within two days before the device becomes visible.
But in mugs,the chips were placed under a sticker which was easily visible. “The same survey was going on in Chengalchula colony in the city and Anchuthengu, off Attingal. We have not yet received any complaint. The agency, which conducted the survey, said that they just needed to test the hygiene level of people,” Poonthura Police Sub Inspector Santhosh said.
“There is nothing alarming and mysterious. It is just like any other marketing strategy of MNCs,” City Police Commissioner Manoj Abraham told ‘Express.’ “The police special branch decided to collect and verify the details from the research agency on Monday,” a top-ranking official told ‘Express.’