Ahead of next year’s assembly polls in Punjab, the Congress party seems to have decided to fill its coffers to the brim – by looting ordinary citizens in times of a crisis. According to reports, the Congress government of Punjab, led by Captain Amarinder Singh has sold Covaxin vaccine doses to at least 20 different private hospitals at an exorbitant rate of ₹ 1,060 per dose. These vaccines were provided to hospitals from the state quota, which means the Congress government in Punjab would have paid Bharat Biotech ₹ 400 per dose.
These vaccines, procured by the Punjab government directly from the manufacturer and thereafter sold to private hospitals at an astronomical rate have brought forward the vaccine scam out of the state. By selling Covaxin doses to private hospitals at ₹ 1,060 per dose, while itself paying only ₹ 400 to Bharat Biotech, the Punjab government ran a brazen profit of ₹ 660 per dose. The private hospitals, meanwhile, profited ₹ 400 per dose, as Covaxin was being sold in such hospitals at ₹ 1,560 per dose.
Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Singh Badal on Thursday shook the Congress government in Punjab by levelling accusations on the Captain Amarinder Singh-led government selling 40,000 doses of Covaxin at evidently “hefty margins”. “This amounts to a cost of ₹ 6,000 to ₹ 9,000 per family (average) for a single dose,” he said. Badal claimed that in Mohali 35,000 doses were sold for “a profit” of nearly ₹ 2 crores in a day.
The Punjab government, according to the Hindustan Times, has been selling Covaxin to private hospitals at exorbitant rates as it makes a profit of ₹660 per dose in the name of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Officials involved in the drive claim the government has created a different bank account in the name of Vaccination CSR Fund and private hospitals deposit the money in this account only. On their part, the state authorities involved in the procurement of vaccine maintained that the additional money collected from the private hospitals will be used to purchase the vaccine.
Punjab Health Minister BS Sidhu on Friday pleaded not guilty to the charges, saying, “I don’t have control over vaccines. I just look over treatment, testing, sampling of COVID-19 and vaccination camps. We will definitely set an inquiry… I myself can enquire…”
The Modi government has also stepped in and is now seeking some very clear answers from the Congress government of Punjab. The Centre has accused the Congress government of clear violation of the Liberalised Pricing and Accelerated National COVID-19 vaccine strategy, which came into effect from May 1. It has instructed the state government to respond to such allegations officially to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare as soon as possible.
BIG BRK:Centre steps in over mega scandal involving sale of COVAXIN shots by Punjab to pvt hosp
Cites media reports to seek Ans
Says if true its a clear violation of May 1 Liberalised Pricing & Accelerated National COVID 19 vacc strategy
Punjab under fire from BJP, SAD & AAP pic.twitter.com/OPQwuiwT2g
— Rohan Dua (@rohanduaT02) June 4, 2021
In the latest news, after being shaken by the nationwide outrage, the Congress government of Punjab has reportedly decided to withdraw its ‘order’ of providing vaccine doses to private hospitals, saying “it (decision) was not taken in the right spirit”. The Captain Amarinder Singh-led government has also reportedly told private hospitals to return all the vaccine doses currently with them, and that the money they paid to the Punjab government will be refunded.
BREAKING: Punjab government withdraws its order of providing doses to private hospitals — says "it was not taken in the right spirit" and tells Private Hospitals to return all the vaccine doses with them. Says the money they paid to Punjab government will be refunded https://t.co/AhYmhfbJDP
— Aman Sharma (@AmanKayamHai_) June 4, 2021
Earlier, the Congress government of Rajasthan was caught red-handed sitting idly while state government-run hospitals were leasing out life-support ventilators belonging to the PM Cares Fund pool to private institutes for exorbitant rates. The recipient hospitals were charging ₹35,000-40,000 for these ventilators from citizens.
Congress governments across the country are milking the Covid-19 crisis to fill their own, and the party’s pockets – whose appetite, by the way, has not been given a miss by the Indian public.