Bhubaneswar: Stepping up its charge of large scale irregularities in the procurement of masks, testing kits and personal protection equipment (PPE) by the state government, the Congress on Thursday submitted a memorandum to Odisha Governor demanding an impartial probe into the ‘scam’.
Speaking to mediapersons after returning from the Raj Bhavan, OPCC president Niranjan Patnaik said, “We submitted a memorandum to Governor Ganeshi Lal and urged him to take necessary steps to ensure an impartial probe into the irregularities in the purchase of equipment by Odisha State Medical Corporation Limited (OSMCL).”
Detailing the allegations, Patnaik said though the Centre had directed the states to purchase medical items through the e-marketing portal, the Odisha government did not do so. “Though the OSMCL had ordered for 30 lakh masks through the portal on March 3, it pulled out on March 18 and placed its order with a Tamil Nadu-based firm at a rate of Rs 16 a piece,” he said.
Claiming that many states had purchased the face masks at less than Rs 9 per piece, he wondered why the OSMCL procured at Rs 16. Besides, two days before the purchase was made from the Tamil Nadu firm, the corporation had bought masks from another company at Rs 9.90 per piece, he said.
On the other hand, spokesperson of ruling BJD Sasmit Patra said the state government never paid a single rupee more than the actual price. He challenged the opposition to go to the court if they have evidence of irregularities in procurement of masks, testing kits and PPEs.