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Assembly panel recommends probe into irregularities in purchase of medical equipment

The Tamil Nadu Assembly Public Accounts Committee has recommended to the State government to constitute a commission to probe “irregularities in the purchase of unnecessary medical equipment and expired medicines” for government hospitals that had reportedly caused the exchequer a loss of ₹700 crore, its chairman K. Selvaperunthagai said on Wednesday.

Speaking to reporters here, he said the audits conducted by the State and Central government agencies had found irregularities in the purchase, made by the Tamil Nadu Medical Services Corporation, of unnecessary medical equipment, excess purchase of medicines and purchase of expired medicines for government hospitals and medical college hospitals during 2017 and 2018.

In Tirunelveli district, medical equipment worth ₹4.29 crore had been imported from Norway for five hospitals, including Tirunelveli Medical College Hospital, for detecting malaria and dengue. While a blood analysis for detecting these vector-borne diseases would cost just 45 paise, using these imported equipment would cost ₹28 a sample.

“Since the use of these equipment entails additional expenses, they are not in use. Our visit to the Tirunelveli Medical College Hospital has confirmed the observations made by the audit agencies. During our visit to the government hospital at Papanasam in Thanjavur district, we could find expired medicines purchased in 2017-2018. Therefore, we’ve recommended to the government to constitute a commission for probing this scam,” Selvaperunthagai said.

After inspecting the new auditorium built at a cost of ₹12.19 crore at Nehru Auditorium in Palayamkottai, Selvaperunthagai said the work would be completed on August 31. The panel members also visited Tirunelveli Medical College Hospital, government working women’s hostel at Veeramanickapuram and the Government Adi Dravida Hostel for Girls near Centenary Hall.

Collector V. Vishnu and Corporation Commissioner V. Sivakrishnamurthy were present during the inspection. The Hindu

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