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Friday, September 25, 2020

Medical equipment ‘scam’: Mamata dismisses Dhankhar & Oppn allegations, takes a dig at PM CARES

On Friday, Dhankhar had demanded an “independent probe” into the “multi-crore scam”. He also questioned the credibility of a three-member committee set up by the government to look into the matter.

By: Express News Service | Kolkata | August 25, 2020 3:04:32 am
Bengal city news, Bengak CM Mamata Banerjee, bengal governor Jagdeep Dhankar, Bengal VC meet, Indian expressWest Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar and CM Mamata Banerjee. (File)

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday dismissed Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar and the Opposition’s allegations of irregularities in the purchase of medical equipment required to contain the Covid-19 pandemic. In the process, she took a dig at the Centre’s PM CARES fund, asking, “Have I ever asked about your ‘take care fund’?”

On Friday, Dhankhar had demanded an “independent probe” into the “multi-crore scam”. He also questioned the credibility of a three-member committee set up by the government to look into the matter.

Banerjee told reporters, “I have been working here for so long. Going to be eight or nine years. Our government works with sufficient transparency. There are some people who have no work, and are just roaming around. We know that we have to work with the approval of the Department of Finance. Now, every department has a representative from the finance department. They decide what is right and what is wrong. So, we are doing work with transparency. In the Left regime of 34 years, it did not happen. Some people questioned about the procurement of masks. Our Chief Secretary, Home Secretary, Finance Secretary decide all things along with other officials. There is no political influence.”

The CM said there was Rs 150 crore in the state’s Covid-19 fund, with the money getting disbursed through the Department of Finance. “I want all to maintain transparency because that is our responsibility,” she added.

Banerjee pointed out that the Governor levelled the allegations after the finance department relaxed the norms for the tender process because of the pandemic.

Criticising the Chief Minister’s remarks, BJP leader Rahul Sinha said, “This explanation is nothing. She should give detailed accounts of procurement of masks, PPEs etc. If she is claiming there are no irregularities, then why is she not giving the details of expenditure?”

The CM addressed Friday’s press conference after chairing an administrative review meeting with officials from Howrah, Hooghly, North 24 Parganas and South 24 Parganas districts.

The focus of the two-hour meeting was on “convergence and coordination” to complete all pending development projects before Durga Puja in October.

“It is not possible for the District Magistrate to do all the work. Responsibilities need to be shouldered by all. All the work needs to be completed because the states work hard while the Centre only talks big,” Banerjee told the officials.

She admitted that government projects had received a setback in the last five months because of the pandemic.

Banerjee pulled up the North 24 Parganas administration because of the rising number of Covid-19 cases in the district. She instructed the District Magistrate to conduct awareness programmes about the importance of wearing masks in public.

On Tuesday, the CM will review the situation in Bankura, Birbhum, Purulia, Purba Bardhaman and Paschim Bardhaman. She instructed the magistrates of these districts and the police superintendents to attend the meeting.

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