Bulk purchases of questionable COVID furniture made by Director

Beds, PPE scam in SKIMS

Fayaz Bukhari
SRINAGAR, June 1 The Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS), Srinagar has made bulk purchases of beds for COVID patients without any requisition from the user departments and despite inspection committee raising questions on its specifications.
A confidential report (SIMS 301 02/AD/2021-42 dated 18-02-2021) sent by then Additional Director SKIMS and addressed to Deputy Secretary Vikas Verma (LG’ References Monitoring Cell GAD) has revealed that SKIMS purchased beds for COVID patients in bulk without any requisition from the user departments and inspection committee had raised question mark on their specifications.
An official said that the SKIMS during the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, made the Infectious Disease Department (IDD) with 50 beds capacity, operative for COVID-19 patients but procured 200 beds and bedside lockers for it.
Interestingly the order was placed on April 29, 2020 by SKIMS but shipment was brought on April 15, 2020, from a local Company M/s Dipanshu Surgical Industries. One of the shipments, vide e-way bill 421116568736 – 16/04/2020, Invoice no 312/313 – 15/04/2020 was transported through lorry no HR-03-8Y-9658.
The report by then AD says that there was no requisition made from the user departments for procurement of 200 beds and bedside lockers especially for Covid patients.
It says that the procurement of the beds was not made from the funds meant for the COVID but were diverted from University funds. “The procurement of beds etc was not made from the budget meant for Covid-19 but its payment was made from University Funds as per the statement dated 29.01.2021 provided by Director Finance SKIMS”, read the report
The report says that the Director made these purchases from preferred supplier ignoring NIT protocol and breaching the financial code.
“Records reveal that SKIMS received 4 numbers of quotations from different agencies and L1 supplier was preferred by the Committee (i.e. M/s Al Haram Engineering) for supplying these items. After that SKIMS purchased 200 No’s of beds and bed side lockers for an amount of Rs. 13, 11, 361 from the said supplier ignoring the protocol of NIT and breached the guidelines provided by the financial code”, report reveals.
It further reveals that even if there was an emergency for procurement of beds they could have been purchased in legitimate quantity.
“If there was an emergency for procurement of beds during the COVID pandemic, it was the moral duty of the authorities to procure only legitimate quantity of beds than to procure the beds in huge quantity (i.e. 200) which was not required”, reports reads.
The report says that SKIMS should have contacted JK Medical Supplies Corporation and other sources for the procurement. “…the SKIMS should have contacted other sources of procurement of these beds such as (GMC Srinagar, JK Medical Supplies Corporation, etc) rather procuring them through Dasti Quotations”, reads the report.
The report says that despite findings by the inspection committee that beds were not up to the mark, bulk purchases were made from the Director’s favourite supplier.
“…once the supply was received from M/S Al Haram Engineering, Inspection was subsequently conducted by the committee and it was clearly found that the beds supplied by the agency are not fulfilling the criteria of ordered specification and 4% penalty was imposed on him for not supplying the genuine items. …if the supplies was not upto the mark then why SKIMS authorities made a decision for procurement of huge quantity of beds i.e. 200 beds rather they should have reduced the quantity as per the requirement”, the report adds.
M/s Al Haram Engineering was again favoured in procuring 40, 000 Personal Protective Kits for the hospital staff used during the COVID.
“…Afterwards, the committee recommends the sample of L2 M/s Al-Haram Engineering for purchase of 40,000 PPE kits @ rate of Rs. 223/Kit + GST”, report reads.
The report says that the company supplied only 2800 PPE kits and communicated to the authorities (16.4.2020) its inability to execute the ordered quantity due to price hike in the market and requested for price revision from Rs. 223 per kit + GST to Rs. 600 per kit + GST.
“A record of Materials Management section reveals that various sources were approached and contacted telephonically in order to avoid the shortcoming of PPE kits at SKIMs. Then 3 sources were identified and one agency namely M/s JIMS Groups was considered as L1 & he offered the price for fully body jumpsuit with hood, shoe cover and face shield at Rs. 275/kit+GST”, the report adds.
Sensing that another company has shown interest in supplying the kits at cheaper rates that he had quoted, Al-Haram again agreed to execute the pending order of PPE kits at previous rate of Rs. 223/kits+GST. “His case as per records was forwarded to Director SKIMS who agreed to consider his request for supply of PPE kits”, reads the report.
The preliminary enquiry conducted by then AD SKIMS reveals that M/s Al Haram appeared to be more favoured supplier “for reasons to be probed”.
“There has been gross violation of financial code. The standard operation process for procurement/technical evaluation have been violated/neglected and utility viz-a-viz the genuine requirement of supplies by the end users has not been followed. Hence it is recommended for further investigation in details by the agencies concerned”, report reads.