Chennai

Apologise or face legal action, Health Minister tells Annamalai

BJP State president K. Annamalai should apologise for levelling “baseless charges” of corruption in the procurement of maternity nutrition kits or the Department of Health will initiate legal action against him, Health Minister Ma. Subramanian said on Tuesday.

He referred to Mr. Annamalai’s allegation that a particular firm was being favoured in the purchase of the kits. “We had then pointed out no blacklisted firm had taken part in the bidding. Both the technical and financial bids were not taken up then. The technical bids were opened on Friday. This morning [on Tuesday morning], the financial bids were opened. It was not the firm, Anitha Textcot, that he had pointed out, but Balaji Surgical that was the L1 (the lowest bid). The tender committee will take a decision,” he told reporters on the sidelines of an event to mark the World Blood Donor Day.

According to him, Mr. Annamalai had levelled a “baseless charge” against the government that Anitha Textcot was being favoured in the tender. “Those who levelled these charges without any proof should at least apologise. That will be a sign of civility in politics. If not, we will take legal action on behalf of the Department. This Department has the responsibility of saving people’s lives. If there are any shortcomings, anyone can point them out. We will rectify them, irrespective of who pinpoints the shortcomings,” he said.

The Minister added that while shortcomings, if any, would be rectified, nobody should make charges without any proof to taint the image of the government.

Due to the higher rates quoted by the lowest bidder, compared with the 2018 rates, officials would hold rate negotiations with the lowest bidder, he said. In 2018, the rate of the kit was ₹1,996, with Aavin’s 500-ml ghee alone costing ₹194.88. Now, the quoted rate was ₹2,162. Aavin’s ghee cost ₹219.52, an increase of 12.6%.

“The price list of the kit has gone up by 9.6%... Though the rise in cost over the years can be cited for this, we have asked the officials to hold rate negotiations,” he said. The Finance Department had said a kit should be procured within ₹2,000, he said.

Earlier, the Minister said approval was granted to eight private medical college hospitals to start new anti-retroviral therapy centres.

Last year, 3,43,667 units of blood was collected and distributed in the State. There were 97 government blood banks, 220 private blood banks, 373 government blood storage centres and 139 private centres. An application and registry of donors was being readied. The Minister appreciated 61 blood donors on the occasion.

Among others, Egmore MLA I. Paranthamen and Health Secretary P. Senthilkumar were present.


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Printable version | Aug 12, 2022 7:23:47 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/apologise-or-face-legal-action-health-minister-tells-annamalai/article65527479.ece