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COVID-19 PPE Kit Procurement ‘Scam’: Odisha Congress To Move CVC, Lokayukta

Bhubaneswar: Opposition parties in Odisha continue to tighten the noose on Odisha government over the alleged irregularities in procurement of COVID-19 PPE kit with the State Congress on Tuesday threatening to launch massive protests and move the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) and the Lokayukta.
Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) Chief Niranjan Patnaik on Tuesday alleged a massive scam in the procurement of PPE kits and said that at a time when several states bought mask between Rs 1.34 and Rs 8. 47 per piece, Odisha procured 30 lakh masks from a Tamil Nadu based company at Rs 16 per piece.
While RT-PCR machine which costs around Rs 4-5 lakh has been bought at Rs 12.84 lakh, PPE kits have been purchased at exorbitant prices. The Health Minister should respond to the allegations but he is passing the buck to officers, said Patnaik.
“We are not demanding resignation of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on the matter, but we want him to clarify whether there has been irregularities in the procurement or not. And, we demand resignation of the ministers and all those involved in the corruption,” he said.
The OPCC chief further said that the party will move the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) and the Lokayukta in connection with the ‘scam’ and submit a collective memorandum from all districts to Odisha Governor on June 11.
“Congress will launch a massive protest and hit the streets if immediate action is not taken against the culprits,” he added.
Expressing concerns over the procurement of 30 lakh masks from a Tamil Nadu-based company, Bhubaneswar MP Aparajita Sarangi had earlier said the State government should be transparent in the procurement process and ‘no person/company of a specific state’ should be given tenders.
On the other hand, Odisha Suchana Adhikar Abhiyan, a forum of RTI activists, has reportedly lodged an FIR with the Capital Police against the State MSME Secretary Hemant Sharma alleging his involvement in the PPE kit procurement ‘scam’.
Sharma was earlier removed from the procurement committee set up to supervise COVID-19 related procurement of medical supplies and equipment in the State following a controversy that erupted after over 20 trucks loads of PPEs, sanitiser, masks and ventilators remained stranded in the State for weeks without acceptance of the delivery.

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