Bhubaneswar: Congress on Tuesday alleged that there was a mega scam in the purchase of personal protective equipment (PPE) in Odisha and sought a clarification on the matter from Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.
In a press briefing, Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) president Niranjan Patnaik said Odisha State Medical Corporation Ltd (OSMCL) had procured 30 lakh face masks from a Tamil Nadu-based private company at a cost of Rs 16 per unit. However, neighbouring states have procured the same to a maximum price of Rs 8.47, he added.
The Congress leader also accused OSMCL of purchasing an RT-PCR machine for around three times its price. While the cost of one RT-PCR machine is Rs 4-5 lakh, the corporation purchased it for Rs 12.84 lakh. Besides, an advance payment of Rs 12 crore was given to a private company for the purchase of a COVID machine, he alleged.
Taking a dig at Health and Family Welfare Minister Naba Kishore Das, Niranjan said that the minister, who had claimed that the PPE kits were procured at a price fixed by the Centre, is now telling the media that the officer concerned will give details about the procurement. “Instead of passing the buck to the officer, the minister should know that he himself is accountable,” he added.
Niranjan, however, said that Congress will not demand a CBI probe in the alleged scam. “We will take up the matter with the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) and Lokayukta,” he said.
He also said that Congress will not demand the Chief Minister’s resignation as BJD enjoys majority in the state. But it will demand the resignation of the ministers involved in the scam, he added.
“We request the Chief Minister to clarify whether there is rampant corruption in the purchase of the PPE kit and what step his government will take to stop the spread of COVID-19 without killing people,” Niranjan said, adding that his party will submit a memorandum from all the districts to the Governor on June 11.