Divya Ramamurthi and M. Raghava

The Health Department has detected irregularities in the tendering process

Four companies participated in the bidding process A foreign company was selected though it did not have a service centre in Bangalore The bid by an Indian MNC was rejected, allegedly on a technicality The matter is being investigated by the Lokayukta

Divya Ramamurthi

and M. Raghava

BANGALORE: The procurement of CT (computed tomography) scanner for district hospitals has been stopped as the Health Department has detected irregularities in the tendering process. The matter is being investigated by the Lokayukta.

A CT scanner uses special X-ray equipment to obtain image data of the body from different angles. It can show several types of tissues lung, bone and soft tissue and blood vessels with clarity. Using the pictures, radiologists can diagnose cancers, cardiovascular diseases, infectious diseases, trauma and musculoskeletal disorders.

Four companies, including three foreign firms, participated in the bidding process initiated by the previous government. A foreign firm was selected though it did not have a service centre in Bangalore, according to a senior official.

He said that an Indian multinational company lost out on the deal even though its bid was lower than that of the company selected. "The company was disqualified on a technicality. It was a closed bid. It did not even make it to the final rounds."

The official said that in the call for tenders, the specifications were designed in such a way that it suited only a few companies. "The specifications are normally supposed to be neutrally designed so that the field of companies participating is larger. But, in this case, it did not happen," he said.

The decision to equip district hospitals with the CT scanners had been announced by the previous Health Minister, N. Cheluvaraya Swamy. He had said 17 CT scanners would be purchased for district hospitals which had 200 beds each. The scanners were estimated to cost Rs. 8 crore. Mr. Cheluvaraya Swamy had said that several government hospitals in districts were unable to provide treatment to persons with head injuries as they did not have CT scanners.

Sources in Lokayukta said a complaint alleging irregularities in the tendering process had been received and was being looked into. The complainant had alleged that the tender specifications suited a particular company.

Health Minister R. Ashok said the alleged irregularities were brought to his department's attention recently. "We could not continue (the process for purchase of CT scanners) because of the irregularities."

Mr. Ashok said he had ordered an assessment of equipment required at district hospitals. "I will take a decision after I get the report," he said, and added: "I think that we will need only 10 CT scanners."

He said he would ensure that the company selected had a service centre in the State. "What is the point in having a machine that cannot be serviced in the city?" he asked.

Mr. Ashok said he would ensure that doctors and specialists were trained to operate the scanners.

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