In July last year, two firms were selected for a public-private partnership to run dialysis machines in a few government hospitals. Now, the AAP government has “debarred” the firms from participating in government tenders for a year from January 8 for their attempts to “derail the bid process, thereby causing loss to the government and harming public interest as the project has been substantially delayed and needy dialysis patients were denied the benefits due from this process”.
The two companies, M/S Max Healthcare Institute Ltd and M/S Nephrocare Health Services Pvt Ltd, said they were reviewing the order and would appeal to participate in the re-tendering process since they raised legitimate concerns which had been construed as delay by the government.
The order by Health Secretary SCL Das states: “Under the terms of Request for Proposal (RFP), the selected companies were supposed to respond within a week of their selection to officially accept the Notice of Award (NOA) and immediately start the process of setting up machines. These companies wrote to the Health department only on August 13, and expressed their inability to perform their obligations,” the order stated.
According to the order, in two subsequent letters on October 23 and November 22 last year, “the selected bidder conveniently changed stand and attempted to seek clarification under the garb of want of clarity, whereas no clarity was required as the bid documents were adequately explicit and expressive and, further, no such issues were raised during the bidding process”.
Sources said the two companies were issued showcause notices on September 18 when they did not start the process of setting up machines, where they were asked to explain why they should not be debarred from participating in government tenders for three years.
A statement issued on behalf of Max Healthcare stated, “Max Healthcare has a history of successfully operating PPP programmes… and we are extremely keen to partner with the Delhi government on this programme. The quality of treatment provided to patients is of prime importance to us. Which is why we sought clarification on critical aspects to ensure the success of the partnership… It is unfortunate that the Delhi government, instead of responding to these legitimate queries, chose to pass this order. We are reviewing the order and will respond in due course.”
Vikram Vuppala, founder and CEO of NephroPlus, said, “We at NephroPlus continue to be excited about PPP projects across the country… We were and are quite keen to pursue the Delhi PPP project as well but the consortium approval ran into problems at the last minute beyond our control… We are trying hard to participate in the re-tendering process…”
Health Minister Satyendra Jain did not respond to repeated calls and text messages.