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Congress demands white paper on health dept purchases in Himachal Pradesh

Leader of opposition says the department has been in the thick of controversy for purchases ever since BJP took over in Himachal two and a half years back

Statesman News Service | Shimla |

Leader of opposition in Himachal Pradesh, Mukesh Agnihotri today asked the Bharatiya Janata Party government in state to come out with a white paper on all the purchases done by the health and family welfare department in the current tenure.

He demanded an inquiry by a sitting Judge of the High Court into the alleged corruption in the health department in the wake of arrest of Director, Health and then resignation of State BJP President. “The government should go to the depth of the matter and bring the culprits to book under the watch of the High Court,”Agnihotri said.

The senior Congress leader said the whole world is passing through a critical phase these days and COVID-19 pandemic has created trouble all over.

“In such a situation, the scam in purchases in the health department is purely an anti-national act. The government should take immediate steps to restore the faith of people in official machinery,” he said.

Agnihotri said since BJP came into power in Himachal, the health department has been in the dock for alleged irregularities. He said last year a senior BJP leader had exposed alleged corruption in the health department.“After that the health department in HP is continuously in controversy over one of the other issues and it is being alleged that the brokers of this corruption have been there in the corridors of power,” he said.

The leader of opposition asked the government to make it public after lockdown that how many purchases have been done by the health department without following the tender process. “The government must come clear on as to how many tenders were done and how many cancelled, and why direct purchases were done and who benefited from it,” he said.

Agnihotri said the health minister was shifted earlier this year, and since then the Chief Minister has been holding the portfolio of health and family welfare, which makes it all the more serious. “The resignation of the state BJP chief is not a small development. It allegedly has its connection with the health scam. The government should bring all the developments since the ‘letter’ (which went viral on social media allegedly at the behest of a BJP leader) bomb came last year into the purview of inquiry,” he said.

He said the Congress party had raised the issue of purchases of Rs 1.25 crore through Chief Medical Officers (CMOs) inside and outside the Assembly prominently. “The health department is continuously in the thick of controversy. There has been a scam in the purchase of sanitizers for secretariat right under the nose of the government. There are doubts about the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kits. The government has still not clarified the sudden removal of Principal of Indira Gandhi Medical College (IGMC), Shimla,” the Congress leader said.

He said the Ayurveda department is also in controversy over some purchases. “People have donated liberally in the COVID-19 crisis and this is insensitive and inhumane to usurp the public money like this,” he said.

He asked the government to immediately bring out white paper on the entire issue in view of the pandemic, or it will keep the foundation of a bigger agitation in state.