Muzaffarpur DM orders probe into data fudging on Covid tests
On Thursday (May 27), Kundan Kumar (36), a resident of Khabra in Muzaffarpur, got a message on his mobile from the health department that he had tested negative for Covid-19 in the RT-PCR test. “I never went for testing. I am hale and hearty and didn’t develop any symptoms of Covid,” a bemused Kumar said.
Kumar is not alone. At least 14 persons in Muzaffarpur have similarly received such messages without being tested.
On Monday, district magistrate Pranav Kumar ordered a probe by a three-member committee into irregularities reported in Covid testing and vaccination programme in the district.
The committee will be headed by additional district magistrate Rajesh Kumar. The other two members are civil surgeon and chief medical officer Dr S K Chaudhury and senior deputy collector Sarang Kumar Pandey.
The probe follows after it was found that 62 mobile numbers mentioned during testing were not valid numbers while all 10 digits were shown as 0 in at least 14 cases.
The irregularities surfaced when calls were made to some of the people whose cellphone numbers were mentioned in the data. It was found that most of the phone numbers were either wrong or not valid. Some were found switched off.
According to health department officials, irregularities were found in 90,346 cases out of over 8.42 lakh samples collected.
Similar fudging of data was reported at Jamui a few months back.
DM Pranav Kumar said, “They have been asked to verify the data after randomly calling cellphone numbers of the beneficiaries. The employees found guilty of lapses will face action as per law.”
Civil surgeon Dr Chaudhury has asked in-charges of all health centres to submit full details regarding collection of samples for tests, the reports and messages sent to the beneficiaries.