Wednesday, October 28

Social Activist writes to Home Minister, LG Levels grave allegations against Director SKIMS

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Srinagar, Oct 15, KNT: A social activist from Srinagar has sent a letter to Union Home Minister Amit Shah in response to the recent illegal appointments and alleged irregularities at the Soura Medical Institute.

Complaining of irregularities, he demanded an investigation into the bungling.
According to the complaint, a letter of which lies with KNT, the social worker writes that, “during the tenure of the current director of Soura Medical Institute, Dr. AG Ahangar, several backdoor appointments were made in the institute depriving the meritorious and deserving candidates of their rights and preventing the SKIMS from utilizing their skill. This was achieved by allowing a retired officer not only to function as Administrative Officer academic but also as Assistant Controller Examinations despite his superannuation in April 2020 indicating malafide intentions.”

“It was shocking to see Director appointing two dozen senior residents in the garb of enhancing Covid care whereas actually these senior residents were appointed in areas far from any role in covid treatment. Even the fingers were raised in SKIMS faculty selection in 2017 when the same was reviewed by the government and many faculty members latter on dropped from selection which too surfaced in the media.”
“During covid crises all eyes were set on this tertiary care institute so that public could get relief, but there has been disappointment all over except the paid publicity wherein huge amounts are spent without following protocol laid by the department of information J&K Govt.”

“In one such irregularity during the current outbreak of the Coronavirus, an ambulance with the institute’s Chasis number was sent to Delhi for suspicious activities during the lockdown under the orders of Director SKIMS, although there was a severe shortage of ambulances in hospitals during the period. The justification for sending ambulance was to fetch supplies, though the supply orders were supposed to be delivered at Srinagar clearly mentioning as for Srinagar in the supply order and govt has to pay to the airlifting agencies which brought supplies for institute, thereby addition financial loss to Govt and benefit to the suppliers.”
“In the garb of covid, Director has purchased non Covid equipments without consent of the concerned and following any laid down procedure and in a hush hush manner established 50 bedded infectious department and diseases ward without approval of high level academic committee or the governing body. Even more than 200 substandard beds were purchased with inflated prices against only 50 beds earmarked for covid and most of them lying unused and causing financial loss to the Govt.”

“To give undue advantage to his relatives, even, Remidisvir an antiviral drug provided by the Govt free of cost to covid patients admitted in hospital, was sold at exorbitant rates to the desperate poor patients admitted for covid treatment and their attendants used to travel whole city along with the infected files from the wards in search of drug at cheaper rates, thereby increasing the infections in the city. Most of the supplies are being given to a few suppliers enjoying close proximity to the Director.”

“In addition, on April 30, 2020, the Institute issued a tender notice under the number SIMS-325-Covid19-2020-3719-26 seeking supply of PPE kits from the companies and the tender advertisement stated that the equipment was needed on a war footing. The tender has not been awarded to any company since April 30, and during this time the PPE kits and other equipment used in the hospital have been offered by the director at exorbitant prices to one of his relatives who has provided the lowest quality PPE as protested by staff in skims and clearly visible on ground by the fact that institute is the one institution where maximum number of staff is effected with news in media off and on. In the garb of purchases for covid the institute being declared a level III hospital, admitted hundreds of asymptomatic and mild symptomatic patients to inflate the figure of admission which not only exhausted resources but fatigued many staff unnecessarily and finally reflected in the huge number of mortalities related covid which as per reliable sources ids more than three hundred which is the highest in any tertiary level hospital of J&K.”

The letter alleges that in connection with any construction at the Soura Medical Institute, the contract is allotted to the same contractor who conveys the commission to the Director. The social worker also complained that most of the medicines at Soura Medical Institute are issued without any tender.”
In addition, medicines are bought at very high prices, which cause huge losses to the exchequer.

The letter states that the institute bought the ventilators from a company whose local supplier did not deliver the supply of ventilators ordered before covid as their rate was competitive, but provided ventilators in covid at higher rates against new order and the figures are for Rs. 685,000 while its market value is only Rs. 365,000. Despite being rejected by the institute’s purchase committee, the Director issued orders to buy stock because he was allegedly commissioned.

Meanwhile, it has also been revealed that most of the medicines required in the hospital are provided by the Director’s own close relatives and in this regard one or the other tender is issued and the other medicines are procured at very high prices.
Institute after projecting more than 50 crore liability to the government for meeting Covid treatment expenses is releasing money to suppliers close to him.
The social worker complained that people have high expectations from the institute but due to corruption and embezzlement in the institute, patients are facing huge difficulties as a result of which most of the patients have stopped turning to the institute. And they are now being forced to turn to hospitals outside Jammu and Kashmir for treatment.Non availability of facilities in skims is now forcing patients to private clinics where they have to spend large amounts and are getting deprived of the Central Govt schemes of health sector operational in Govt sector of the UT.

The social activist has now appealed to Home Minister Amit Shah to launch a high-level probe into the irregularities and nepotism at the institute to expose the scams and backdoor recruitment. (KNT)


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Bhat Abbas

Bhat Abbas is a senior reporter at Kashmir News Trust.

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