Punjab opposition parties allege 'irregularities' in purchase of 'Fateh kit'

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Chandigarh, Jun 7 (PTI) Punjab's opposition parties the SAD, AAP and the BJP on Monday alleged irregularities in the purchase of 'Fateh' kits for coronavirus patients by the state's Congress-led government and demanded an impartial probe.

A 'Fateh kit' contains a pulse oxymeter, a thermometer, face masks, a steamer, sanitisers, vitamin C and zinc tablets and some other medicines for COVID-19 patients.

The fresh accusation comes a few days after the opposition accused the Punjab government of “diverting” coronavirus vaccines to private hospitals.

The Punjab government had last week asked private hospitals to return all vaccine stocks meant for the 18-44 age group, following severe criticism.

Shiromani Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Singh Badal accused Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu of indulging in another “scam”.

He alleged that the price of the medical kits supplied to people during the COVID-19 pandemic was “jacked up repeatedly” by inviting one tender after another despite the fact that the first tender was valid for a six-month period.

Badal said the original tender was won by a medical store who quoted a price of Rs 837 per kit, but the tender was unexplainably allotted at Rs 940 per kit on April 3.

He said even though this tender was valid for a six-month period for supply of 3.5 lakh kits, the government re-invited tenders on April 20 and issued a purchase order for supply of the same kits to another firm at Rs 1,226 per kit.

“A third tender was issued, and the firm was again selected to deliver the Fateh kits at a price of Rs 1,338 per kit,” he alleged.

Badal further claimed that the firm in question did not even have a medical licence but it was still chosen to deliver the kits to the government.

“We demand an impartial inquiry into this scam and exemplary punishment to the guilty,” he said.

Similar charges were levelled by the Aam Aadmi Party's Punjab unit chief Bhagwant Mann and state affairs in-charge Jarnail Singh here.

“By using the disaster as an opportunity, the Captain government embezzled crores of rupees by selling vaccines to private hospitals while the state exchequer had also been looted in the purchase of 'Fateh Kits',” they alleged.

Mann said Amarinder Singh had “no moral right” to remain as chief minister demanded his immediate resignation.

BJP national general secretary Tarun Chugh accused the government of making Punjab a 'Covid scandal' state.

A kit available for Rs 837 was purchased at Rs 1,338, he alleged, highlighting that the government was trying to “commercialise” the fight against COVID-19.

Chugh demanded a CBI inquiry into the matter. PTI CHS VSD IJT