Mohali (Punjab) [India], June 8 (ANI): Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) President Sukhbir Singh Badal on Monday demanded the immediate dismissal of Health minister Balbir Singh Sidhu for presiding over alleged vaccine and 'Fateh kit' scams.
He asserted that if this was not done till June 15, the SAD would 'gherao' the residence of chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh.
The SAD President was addressing a symbolic protest near the residence of the Health minister here which was attended by the party's senior leadership including legislators, former legislators, constituency in-charge, and district presidents only due to Covid concerns.
Speaking at the protest, Badal said "We will continue to strive to ensure justice to the people of Punjab in the vaccine scam in which instead of giving free vaccines to the people, the Congress government sold vaccines at a hefty profit to private institutions and also allowed the latter to fleece the people further. This amounts to playing with lives and is reprehensible. Balbir Sidhu is directly responsible for this corrupt act and in case he is not dismissed we will approach the Governor as well as the courts for justice".
Asserting that Balbir Sidhu was indulging in one scam after another, Sukhbir Badal also took the lid off the Fateh Kit scam of the Congress government on the occasion.
He said under this scam the price of the medical kits which was supplied to the people during the Covid pandemic was jacked up repeatedly by inviting one tender after another despite the fact the first tender was valid for a six-month period.
Giving details, Badal said the original tender was won by Sangam Medical Store by quoting a figure of Rs 837 per kit but the tender was unexplainably allotted to the medical store at Rs 940 per kit on April 3. He said even though this tender was valid for a six-month period for the supply of 3.5 lakh kits, the government reinvited tenders on April 20 and issued a purchase order for the supply of the same kits to Grandway Incorporation at Rs 1226 per kit.
"A third tender was issued and Grandway was again selected to deliver the Fateh kits at a price of Rs 1338 per kit. It is noteworthy that Grandway does not even fulfill the criterion of having a medical license but was still chosen to deliver the kits to the government. We demand an impartial inquiry into this scam and exemplary punishment to the guilty," said Badal.
The SAD president also took on the chief minister on the occasion, saying "a soldier always puts his life at stake in the battlefield and does not hide at home like Amarinder Singh".
He said Punjabis were shocked that the chief minister was not ready to spend a single rupee on the purchase of medicines even though he was spending Rs 150 crore on advertisements to earn self-publicity.
The SAD president said the chief minister was directly responsible for the death of 15,000 people during the Covid pandemic in Punjab adding the highest death count in the State was due to the Congress government's refusal to ensure medicines, oxygen and health care facilities.
He said the government also failed to rein in private institutions that continued to exploit the people by charging as much as Rs 25,000 per day for providing a hospital bed.
"It is also shocking that the chief minister refused to listen to our requests to open Covid care centres in all blocks and purchase vaccines worth Rs 1,000 crore directly from the manufacturers to vaccinate the entire population within a period of six months," said Badal. (ANI)