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New PCMC committee to probe hospital for seeking Rs 5.26-crore without treating single Covid patient

The chief civic clerk, in his report submitted to the civic body, had remarked that the agency was trying to mislead the civic body.

Written by Manoj Dattatrye More | Pune |
Updated: February 14, 2021 2:02:37 pm
Covid spread, SARS-CoV2 in air, Covid spread in hospitals, Covid-19, study on SARS-CoV2, Pune news, India news, Indian express"During the investigation if it is found that the agency was guilty, then the amount so paid should be recovered from it," the civic chief's orders said. (File)

The Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation has set up a new three-member committee to probe the role of a private agency that had submitted a Rs 5.26-crore bill despite not treating a single patient at two Covid-19 care centres set up by it. The PCMC administratioon has already paid Rs 3.29 crore to Sparsh Multispeciality Hospital, the private agency which had set up the care centres in August on the instructions of the civic body.

In his order, outgoing Municipal Commissioner Shravan Hardikar said the agency should not be paid the remaining amount till the investigation has been completed. “During the investigation if it is found that the agency was guilty, then the amount so paid should be recovered from it,” the civic chief’s orders said.

After the agency submitted the bill last month, a committee was appointed by the civic body to probe whether there were any irregularities. The chief civic clerk, in his report submitted to the civic body, had remarked that the agency was trying to mislead the civic body. “Despite his adverse remarks, the civic body had gone ahead and paid him Rs 3.26 crore,” officials said.

Municipal Commissioner Shravan Hardikar said, “As per the contract signed with the agency, we will have to pay Rs 1,239 per patient. But after the committee submited its report and found certain deficiencies, we had drastically reduced the bill amount. Otherwise, we would have had to pay huge paid.”

A new three-member committee was again set up after uproar by political parties.

Dr Amol Halkunde, CEO of Sparsh Multipspeciality Hospital, said, “We had set up two Covid Care Centres (CCC) with a total of 600 beds. We had appointed doctors, nurses and other staff. We also paid a collective amount of Rs 40 lakh as rent for both the CCCs. For every bed, we were supposed to Rs 1,239. This was whether the patient had occupied the bed or not. We, however, did not get any patient. This is not our fault. We had sought the bill amount as per the agreement signed with PCMC. We have not violated any rules. The final decision is up to the PCMC.”

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Meanwhile, Hardikar said he will request the new commissioner to probe the matter. Hardikar has been replaced with Rajesh Patil, an Odisha cadre officer. Patil hails from Jalgaon and has 14 years of experience in administrative service. “I will take charge either on Monday or Tuesday. I have experience of civic services. After taking charge, I will interact with citizens and then decide priority of civic works,” he said.

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