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Regulate Rapid RT-PCR test rates at Mumbai airport: Rajesh Tope to IRS officer

Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope said that the state has received several complaints about the high Rapid RT-PCR rates at the airport.

Written by Yogesh Naik | Mumbai |
Updated: December 9, 2021 7:27:42 pm
Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope (File)

State Health Minister Rajesh Tope has written to IRS officer Dr Sudhakar Shinde to regulate prices of Rapid RT-PCR tests at the Mumbai International Airport. Dr Shinde heads the price regulation committee of the state and the Mahatma Phule Jan Arogya Mission.

Tope’s letter comes in the backdrop of a letter written on December 7 by Additional Chief Secretary of the state health department Dr Pradeep Vyas to Union Health Departments Additional Secretary Arti Ahuja stating that the rates of Rapid RT-PCR tests at Mumbai International Airport Limited run by Adani Airports are too high. The Indian Express had reported about Vyas’s letter on December 8.

In his letter, Tope said that the state has received several complaints about the high Rapid RT-PCR rates at the airport. He said that the prices of masks, PPE kits and other protective gear are now much less and revised rates must be fixed soon.

Sources said that the Dr Shinde committee will bring down rates drastically and judiciously. Earlier, the committee had brought prices of N 95 masks, plain masks, PPEs and tests related to COVID 19.

In the wake of the Omicron variant of COVID 19 virus, the state has intensified testing on advice from the Centre. State officials, however, had raised concerns over the high testing rates at the airport.

“At the Mumbai airport the rapid RTPCR test is being charged at Rs 4500, which operator has agreed to bring it down to Rs 3900 per test, but still it is very high compared to the rates of similar test at other airports like Bangalore, Chennai and Kochi,” the letter by Vyas to Additional Secretary Ahuja stated.

The state was informed that the operator conducting the tests at the airport had to share 30-35 per cent of revenue generated through the tests with airport operator M/s Adani Airports Ltd, and as a result he is not in a position to reduce the rates further.

Pursuant to the letter sent by Vyas, a spokesperson of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport had said that they were working towards bringing down the costs.

“We are aware of the queries and are working with the test laboratories and other partners to see whether we can further bring down the cost of the Rapid PCR test, wherever possible.” the airport spokesperson had earlier said.

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