Another oxygen supplier’s dues not paid by BRD, firm alleges kickbacks were sought
The Gorakhpur-based Modi Pharma, which supplied oxygen to the medical college since 2002, claimed its service was abruptly discontinued in March this year and the medical college administration did not clear Rs 20 lakh arrears pending since then.Updated: Aug 21, 2017 16:00 IST
It seems the BRD Medical College is no stranger to non-payment of bills whether for oxygen supply or other works.
The Lucknow-based company, which allegedly switched off the supply of oxygen cylinders to Gorakhpur’s Baba Raghav Das Medical College earlier this month, is not the only firm the dues of which were not cleared.
The Gorakhpur-based Modi Pharma, which supplied oxygen to the medical college since 2002, claimed its service was abruptly discontinued in March this year and the medical college administration did not clear Rs 20 lakh arrears pending since then.
Talking to HT, Modi Pharma owner Praveen Modi claimed a fight for kickbacks among officers was the reason his firm was told to discontinue supply. Without floating a tender, the medical college administration asked another company to supply oxygen cylinders, he alleged.
“Here too, the officers demanded kickbacks to clear the bills. When my company refused to entertain their demand, the supply order was cancelled. I had been supplying oxygen to BRD College for 15 years and there was no crisis,” he said.
Asked if he tried to bring the corruption in supply of oxygen to the notice of chief minister Yogi Adityanath, who represents Gorakhpur in the Lok Sabha, Praveen Modi said, “I will meet him soon and submit details about anomalies in the supply of oxygen to the BRD Medical College.”
Praveen Modi also said he was quite willing to continue the supply and urged the Medical College to clear the arrears.
Dr Kafeel Khan, the then in-charge of the encephalitis ward, told HT that the assistance of Modi Pharma was sought when the oxygen crisis hit BRD Medical College hospital.
Asked about the allegation of kickbacks, Khan expressed ignorance on the issue. “A committee of the Medical College constituted under the chairmanship of principal finalised all the tenders,” he said.
Director general, Medical Education, Dr KK Gupta said, “The state government has ordered a high-level inquiry into irregularities in oxygen supply. Action will be taken against the officers who are involved in the corruption. The Medical College administration had been directed to clear the arrears of all the companies that have supplied oxygen. The state government has already released the funds.”
An officer of BRD Medical College, who did not wish to be named, said corruption in oxygen supply was not an isolated incident. The medical college is yet to clear the arrears of equipment purchased last year, he claimed. The construction of wards and intensive care units in the medical college was delayed, allegedly due to corruption, he alleged.
Oxygen crisis hit the medical college hospital on August 9 with the Lucknow-based firm having already stopped delivery of liquid oxygen over non-payment of dues.
Desperate medical college and district administration officers contacted Modi Pharma on August 10 night, when children started dying. The company immediately dispatched 24 oxygen cylinders from its store, helping restore oxygen supply. Later, the company supplied 400 cylinders. By the time supply was restored at full strength, over 30 children had died in 48 hours..
First Published: Aug 21, 2017 16:00 IST