GMC Amritsar Principal, Vice Principal removed on allegations of faulty, substandard PPE kits
Punjab: Following the allegations of providing faulty and substandard personal protective equipment (PPE) kits to the health workers; the principal, the Vice Principal, and the Nodal Officer of COVID-19 Ward of the Government Medical College Amritsar (GMC Amritsar) have been removed from their posts in the public interest.
A transfer order was issued by the office of medical education and research after an investigation was initiated on the purchase of substandard and faulty PPE kits in April.
According to the media reports, allegations were made that the institution has brought PPE kits in April and many health workers of the hospital refused to use around 2000 PPE kits on the ground that those were not only substandard but also those did not include N95 masks. They had also accused the authorities of paying around Rs 41 lakh for the kits which would not cost more than Rs 7 lakh.
After receiving several complaints from the doctors on the quality of the kits, MLA Gurjeet Singh Aujla who previously provided one crore for the purchase of the PPE kits for the Hospital staff requested Amritsar deputy commissioner, Shiv Dular Singh Dhillon to initiate an investigation on the matter on April 24th, reports The Week.
Later, in mid-June, he wrote again to the Union Ministry of statistics and program implementation claiming that the inquiry has been delayed and not properly conducted. After receiving his letter, on June 23rd the Central Government instructed the chief administrator of Amritsar Development Authority (ADA) to initiate the inquiry immediately and Dr Pallavi Chaudhary took over the investigation. She questioned 20 doctors who were allegedly involved with the management, after the investigation within hours the transfers were announced.
As per the order, those who have been transferred include the principal of the medical college, Dr Sujata Sharma who will be replaced by radiotherapy department head Dr Rajeev Kumar Deven as the principal and Dr Jagdeep Singh Kolar professor of anatomy will be serving as the vice principal in place of Dr Valecha. The former principal Dr Sharma has been reassigned to her former department, gynaecology, as HoD, Moreover, Dr Shiv Charan, the head of the medicine department and Nodal Officer of COVID-19 ward at the hospital also received a transfer order and has been reassigned to Government Medical College Of Patiala.
Dr. Sharma and vice principal Dr. Veena Chatrath were reportedly involved in ordering and procuring PPE kits which turned out to be substandard, reports the Week, however talking to HT, Dr Sharma said, "The PPE kits were purchased by the medical superintendent. The GMC authorities are not responsible for buying any equipment for the hospital."
She added, "The medical education department sent the transfer orders and cited that in view of the increase in Covid-19 deaths at GMC, Amritsar, the decision has been taken. The hospital tries its level best to save every life but the Covid-19 patients in Amritsar are not being detected at an early stage by the administration and civil surgeon office."
However, the authorities also claimed that the transfers were simply made keeping the interest of the public. "Some officials of the department of medical education and research visited GMC, Amritsar, a few days ago and a decision was taken in a meeting. Officials at other government medical colleges have also been transferred. The decision has no link with the PPE kits scam," medical research and education minister OP Soni confirmed to HT.