Chhattisgarh is having trouble procuring rapid test kits to test suspected COVID-19 cases in the hotspot. The state health department is set to blacklist at least three companies for defaulting on the tender contracts, thereby delaying supply of rapid testing kits.
The state has reported 36 COVID-19 cases so far, with the majority of them in Katghora in Korba district, which has been declared a hotspot. “More than 2,000-3,000 people are affected, but we can only test 500 per day. A rapid testing kit would help us manage the hotspot better,” said a senior health official.
While the state called for tenders twice through its purchasing committee, it is yet to get the kits. “In the first tender, the approved candidate stated mathematical error while filling the forms. The second company we turned to said they didn’t have enough stock. So the tenders were called back and we started a fresh process. Today, another shortlisted company said they made a mistake while filling the forms. Action has been initiated against the firms,” Health Minister T S Singh Deo.
The state started private procurement late in March after orders placed with ICMR were delayed. “We are not procuring as fast as other states because we are still going through the process of tender invitation. Even then, companies that are bidding lowest are turning up with feeble excuses and defaulting. This is delaying our procurement,” an official said.
“These companies are going to be blacklisted for three years. Their other associates where these people are in any way involved will also be blacklisted. It is deplorable that at a time of crisis, these companies want to hoodwink the government and make money,” the health minister said.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines