Odisha Congress alleges Rs 300 crore scam in purchase of safety kits for labour...

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On Friday, Congress party in Odisha alleged that the senior Biju Janata Dal (BJD) minister Susanta Singh and senior officials of his department were involved in misappropriation of Rs 300 crore in the purchase of working tools and safety kits for labourers during Covid-19 pandemic.

“Funds meant for 28.22 lakh labourers registered with Odisha Building and Other Construction Welfare Board have been siphoned off. About 15 lakh labourers have been supplied with working tools and safety kits which were purchased at a very inflated price. At least Rs. 300 crore has been defalcated,” alleged Pradeep Majhi, OPCC working president.

Also read: Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai gear up for Covid-19 spikes

Majhi alleged that goggles, available at Rs 12 per piece in market, were purchased at Rs 60 per unit while safety shoes were bought at Rs. 413 per pair against the market price of Rs 185. Hand gloves were bought at Rs 90 per piece against the market price of Rs 12. Helmet and hand gloves available at Rs 45 per piece were bought at Rs 110 and Rs 130 per unit respectively.

Two days ago, Congress leader Sudarsan Das had filed a petition with the Odisha Lokayukta seeking an investigation into the alleged corruption in purchases of masks, testing kits, Real-Time PCR, rapid testing machines, PPEs, nebulizers and bypass machines by the Odisha State Medical Corporation Limited. In his complaint, Das said the company which had quoted the price of each nebuliser kit at Rs 3,100 on March 21 changed the quotation price to Rs 5,900 on March 23. But the Odisha State Medical Corporation Ltd procured 5,00 nebuliser kits from the same company at the revised price though such kits are available at Rs 1,600 apiece.

Congress also alleged that while several other states procured N95 masks at prices between Rs 1.34 and Rs 8.47 per piece, Odisha procured 30 lakh masks from a Tamil Nadu-based company at Rs 16 per piece during the pandemic.

The Congress also alleged that Odisha State Medical Corporation Limited had purchased an RT-PCR machine at three times the market price. RT-PCR machine which costs around Rs 4-5 lakh has been bought at Rs 12.84 lakh by the state government, it said.

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