With the Health Department also claiming the same, activists said that it is now unclear as to which department has the figures.

Health care workers in Telangana attending the duties Image: PICXY/ABDUL MUNAFF
news COVID19 Monday, November 16, 2020 - 16:44

The Telangana Public Health and Family Welfare Department has claimed that it does not have control of the information over procurement and supply of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) kits, in a startling revelation during the COVID-19 pandemic. This, despite the Telangana government stating that it has provided PPE kits to doctors, nurses, medical staff and others who are on the frontlines of the battle against the coronavirus. 

In an RTI response to Society for Safety of Public and Good Governance, a Hyderabad-based organisation, the Director of Public Health and Family Welfare, G Srinivas Rao, said that his office has no control on the information pertaining to the PPE kits.

Activists had sought information about the number of PPE kits that the government has procured besides the month-wise details of hospitals to which they have been supplied. The RTI application sought details of the manufacturing company from whom the government had purchased the PPE kits. The application had also asked for the details of the total payments that were made to the manufacturing company for purchasing these kits. 

Speaking to TNM, a representative from the Society for Safety of Public and Good Governance said, "The Health Department should have the information ideally, so we filed an RTI with the department, but they did not have the data and transferred the application to the Director of Public Health, who has now said that even they don’t have the information.”

He further added, "As per the Section 6(3) in the RTI Act, 2005, they need to transfer the application to the concerned department to provide the information if they don't have it." However, this was not done, activists said.

An official from the Commissioner of Family Welfare told TNM that any information related to COVID-19 measures shall come under the supervision of the office of the Director of Public Health and Family Welfare. It is now unclear as to which department has the figures. 

Earlier, opposition parties in the state had alleged that the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) government had failed to provide adequate PPE kits to its frontline workers. In September, Congress leaders had accused the government of providing sub-standard PPE kits and demanded action against those responsible.

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