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Finance Department Kept Unaware of Purchases; Opposition Hits Back at Government

Ventilators 1
Medical Purchases done by state Government without financial approval (rep image)

The state’s finance department was reportedly kept in the dark, while purchases worth crore of rupees were made for various medical requirements by the state authorizes in view of the covid-19 pandemic. After the expose which highlighted how the state government, in particular, the Health Department, went ahead and purchased medical requirements at very prices as compared to rates available otherwise.

It is now learned that the Finance Department was bypassed as it reportedly raised objections to the purchases which were being made at very high skyrocketed rates.

It is however learned that no approvals were needed from the finance department as the procurements were being done from the National Health Mission (NHM) or the National AYUSH Ministry, which are Central government funds. The NHM’s Mission Director and the National AYUSH Mission is empowered to approve these proposals.

However, a report stated that the finance department had raised objections to the purchases at such high rates, even if they were on an urgent need. The senior finance official quoted by a daily said, “We have written every time on the file that the rates are too high.”

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Reacting strongly to this development, several opposition leaders, including citizens expressed their anguish at the state government’s way of functioning.

The Congress party didn’t spare to take a dig at the state government. The Goa Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) said that the high prices paid for various equipment by the state government is shocking.

GPCC Media Convenor Trajano D’Mello said, “All this is being done since no formal/normal scrutiny of financial approvals are required as funds are being utilized from NHM and National Ayush Mission fund provided by the central government for which Mission Director, NHM and National Ayush Mission are empowered to approve.”

Moreover, he added that all these purchases indicate nothing short of looting the government finances while the people of Goa are suffering during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Aam Admi Party (AAP) went a step ahead and filed a complaint before the Superintendent of Police (SP) at the Anti-Corruption Branch of the Vigilance Department. The party, through its leader, Sidharth Karapukar has accused the Pramod Sawant led government of resorting to corrupt practices.

Several residents also expressed their anguish, many taking to social media to vent their anger against the government. Some even requested investigations into these alleged ‘scams’ by top investigating agencies in the state. 

It had come to light that the state government, through the Directorate of Health Services, went ahead and purchased medical requirements needed to handle the Covid-19 pandemic in the state, which included various requirements from the mask, gloves, N95 masks, PPE kits, body bags, and even ventilators.

Over 200 ventilators were purchased from a private firm in Mohali for a whopping Rs 16,30,72,000. Further, other smaller requirements available at local distributors were also purchased at rates that were found to be very high.

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