Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, September 12
Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Saturday ridiculed the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) for seeing a scam in the procurement of Covid care kits even before the kits were procured by the state government.
Reacting to AAP MLA Aman Arora’s allegation of a scam in the kit procurement, the Chief Minister said: “In their desperation to attack the government in Punjab they seem to have lost all sense of proportion.”
Arora’s scam accusation came even before the tender for the procurement of the kits was finalised by the Health Department, Captain Amarinder Singh pointed out as he disclosed that the state government had eventually finalised the cost at Rs 748 per kit with Rs 360 (+GST) for Pulse Oxymeter.
The AAP MLA had based his allegation on a rate list – which he had also sent to the Health Department – that actually listed only 13 items as against the 16 being procured for the government kit, said the CM.
Arora’s list made no mention of Vitamin D capsule, betadine gargles, and balloons, while the sanitiser he listed out was of 100 ml in comparison to the 500 ml sanitiser that is being included in the government kit, said Captain Amarinder.
Further, no liquid kadha (concoction) is available in the market at Rs 10, said the Chief Minister, adding that AAP was perhaps making some kadha of their own and marketing in Delhi.
Terming Arora’s scam allegation “preposterous”, the CM said by alleging a scam in a procurement that had not even taken place, the AAP MLA had exposed the party’s strategy of unleashing baseless negative propaganda against his government.
“You have shown that you will stoop to any level to further your political agenda in Punjab, going to the extent of making totally unsubstantiated and false allegations against my government,” he remarked, adding that the people of Punjab will not be taken in by these theatrics and false campaigns of AAP.
At the time of announcing the free kits for people in home and hospital isolation, the Chief Minister said he had merely given an estimated price based on the market costs of various items.
The market prices, however, keep fluctuating, which Arora seems to be either oblivious of, or chose to deliberately ignore in order to mislead the people, he added.
The Rs 1,700 estimate announced earlier by him was based on the cost at which the Punjab Police had been procuring such kits in small numbers from local markets, as per their requirement, against the market price of Rs 4,000, per kit, Captain Amarinder disclosed.
The CM said that the procurement process was tender-based, which he had clearly mentioned in his announcement, and pointed out that the final price which the state government eventually got for the kit turned out to be much lower.
As already announced, these will be distributed free of cost to all Covid patients in hospital and home quarantine, said Captain Amarinder.
The Chief Minister said Arora was in such a hurry to “spread misinformation” that he did not bother to wait for the government to finalise the tender.
False propaganda seems to have become AAP’s political strategy. The arrest of an AAP activist recently for spreading a fake video on Covid organ harvesting shows the extent to which these people will go to promote their petty political interests in Punjab, he said.
In fact, said the Chief Minister, given the low price of bulk procurement that the government had managed to get for the kits, even the Oxymeters his government had decided to make available through approved vendors on no-profit-no-loss basis would probably be sold at a cost lower than the Rs 514.