The state government spent nearly Rs 100 crore to buy masks, sanitiser and PPE kits during the Covid pandemic, however, issues of non-payment of bills are now emerging.
In one such case, a city-based firm has dashed off a legal notice to SSG Hospital in Vadodara for failing to make payment of Rs 34.25 lakh for PPE kits supplied to it during the first wave of Covid. The firm had supplied 5,000 PPE kits to the hospital at a rate of Rs 685 per kit and raised five invoices on June 3, 2020.
Sources said SSG Hospital owes about Rs 5 crore to various entities for Covid-related supplies.
“We have issued legal notice after my client Medimech Healthcare Private Limited did not get paid despite making several requests. The company met hospital authorities several times. Later, the authorities refused to meet. We then issued the legal notice to the Medical Superintendent of the SSG hospital,” said Bhavik Samani, advocate for the firm.
The hospital authorities maintain that the payment has not been made as the competent authority appointed by the state government has not approved the bill.
It may be noted that the state government had appointed different IAS officers as Officers on Special Duty (OSD) at various government-run hospitals and Dr Vinod Rao was given the charge of the SSG Hospital.
SSG Superintendent Ranjan Aiyer, who took charge in July 2020, said, “The state government had appointed OSD during the pandemic. We had made requisition for the PPE kits and forwarded the proposal to the OSD, but he hasn’t approved it. Therefore, I have written to the health department for approval and disbursement of dues.”
Dr Aiyer further said, “About Rs 5 crore are yet to be paid to various vendors. Money will be paid once the state government approves it.”
According to information presented by the state government in the Assembly, it had bought PPE kits worth Rs 31.77 crore, PPE overalls worth Rs 11.87 crore, N95 masks worth Rs 13.18 crore, three-layer masks worth 17.50 crore and sanitiser bottles worth Rs 19.89 crore in two years. Ahmedabad Mirror