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xBindal rejects scam charges in free ambulance scheme

Himachal Health Minister Rajeev Bindal on Friday claimed to have revolutionised the state’s healthcare system by introducing free-ambulance scheme and rejected allegations of a Rs 7.24 crore scam levelled at him separately by Himachal Lokhit Party leader Mohinder Sofat and by former Congress minister G S Bali on Thursday.

Written by Express News Service | Shimla | Published: April 28, 2012 12:01:20 am

Himachal Health Minister Rajeev Bindal on Friday claimed to have revolutionised the state’s healthcare system by introducing free-ambulance scheme and rejected allegations of a Rs 7.24 crore scam levelled at him separately by Himachal Lokhit Party (HLP) leader Mohinder Sofat and by former Congress minister G S Bali on Thursday.

Bindal,who has been under attack from opposition Congress and BJP’s breakaway group – HLP – told a press conference that Atal Swasthya Sewa Yojana (free ambulance scheme-108) has benefited more than 1.32 lakh patients in the past 13 months including 26,938 pregnant women. He also claimed that 98 percent of the staff employed by the company are Himachalis.

Bindal contested the figures quoted by Sofat about abnormally high cost of ambulance service at Rs 1.21 lakh per month,which he claimed was actually Rs 97,860.

He also denied charges of allowing the company – GVK-EMRI to buy vehicles from Madhya Pradesh and quoted documents stating that the government had got a tax refund of Rs 73,800 per ambulance for the 100 ambulances.

Bindal also disputed the data quoted by Sofat on Thursday and offered to face inquiry by any agency of the country including the CBI,“Anyone can access the details. The payments to the service provider is paid on actual expenditure basis and till now the government has spent Rs 32 crore on the scheme including a capital cost of Rs 14 crore.”

G S Bali had alleged that the decision on the ambulance service was delayed and the company was favoured even though they had a higher cost for service. A charge Bindal termed baseless. He also said he suspected a close connection between Sofat and Bali.

Bindal,however,admitted that the company,which is now a registered society operating ambulance service in 13 states and a UT,had first given offers against global competitive bidding but a different company was chosen as the lowest bidder – which eventually backed out.

HP reshuffles 7 bureaucrats

Shimla: In a major bureaucratic reshuffle ahead of this year’s Assembly elections,the Himachal Pradesh government on Friday transferred eight deputy commissioners and also effected significant changes at the secretariat. Kullu Deputy Commissioner B M Nanta has been transferred and posted as MD of the HP Civil Supplies Corporation. He will replace Padam Singh Chauhan,who strangely has been shifted back to Sirmaur – where he had earlier served as the deputy commissioner but was suddenly moved. Nanta will be replaced by the Additional Kangra DC P Mandal.

The Sirmaur Deputy Commissioner Meira Mohanty takes over as the Solan DC,while her predecessor at Solan,S Paulrasu will return to Shimla as special secretary (Home). The Lahual-Spiti DC Rajeev Shanker will be replaced by the Chief executive Officer of the HPSEB S S Guleria,while the Kinnaur DC Sunil Chaudhry will be the new Chamba DC replacing Shrab Negi,who has been posted as the additional director (industries) and who will additionally be the controller of stores. Labour Commissioner Mohan Chauhan will hold additional charge as MD of HRTC. No change has been effected in the districts of Kangra,Una,Hamirpur,Mandi and Bilaspur.

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