Siddaramaiah has released a document which shows the alleged difference between the market price and the prices paid by the government for protective equipment.

PPE ventilators bought at high prices Cong accuses BJP of misusing funds in Ktaka
Coronavirus Coronavirus Saturday, July 11, 2020 - 19:09

Congress leaders in Karnataka have accused the BJP of misusing COVID-19 funds, alleging that the state government spent Rs 2,000 crore more than the market price to procure protective equipment. 

Head of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) in Karnataka legislature and Congress MLA HK Patil, reportedly received complaints about discrepancies in the purchase of PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) kits, sanitisers and ventilators by the state government. 

"How much money has the government spent on purchasing equipment related to coronavirus? What is the cost of procuring PPE kits, test kits, sanitisers, gloves, thermal scanners? What are the companies they were procured from?" asked Congress leader and former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah in a video posted on his social media handles.

Siddaramaiah had earlier claimed that the Karnataka government had paid more than the market price for equipment bought for COVID-19 relief. Releasing a document showing a price list, Siddaramaiah had alleged that equipment worth Rs 1,163 crore was bought for Rs 3,392 crore. 

The price list showed the alleged difference between the market price and the prices paid by the government for items like PPE equipment, ventilators, and COVID-19 test kits among others.

According to the document shared by Siddaramaiah, 1,000 ventilators, which were supposed to cost Rs 4 lakh per piece and at a total cost of Rs 40 crore, were purchased for Rs 120 crore by the state government. This is three times the market price of the ventilators, Siddaramaiah said.

He called for an audit to be done on the money spent on equipment for COVID-19 work, including the amount spent on providing ration and food for those in need. 

Congress MLA Rizwan Arshad released a document of the government-owned Karnataka State Drugs Logistics and Warehouse Society which said that initially there was a demand to procure 3.5 lakh PPE kits at Rs 330 per kit, but that each kit was purchased at Rs 725 instead.  Rizwan too questioned the state government over the difference in prices and called for an audit to be done.

The controversy comes at a time when Bengaluru is reporting a spike in COVID-19 cases since the start of the month. The state has now reported 33,418 cases of which 19,035 are active. As many as 11,687 active cases were reported in Bengaluru. Data shows that the city is recording over 1,000 cases every day for the past few days.


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