A Chennai Corporation council resolution has revealed that the civic body had procured triple-layer masks at a higher cost prescribed by the State government. In total, the civic body had spent around Rs 1.36 crore, including GST, for purchasing 14 lakh masks.
Meanwhile, a government order issued by the Health and Family Welfare Department estimated Rs 7 per mask. It may be noted that the Government Order was issued on March 24, days before the civic body decided to purchase the masks at Rs 9.25. The department had bought 5 lakh masks at Rs 7 apiece.
The resolution also revealed that the civic body accepted the proforma Email invoice sent by Greenvac Solutions Private Limited on the same day on March 28. “Exemption has been made from executing an agreement since it is an emergency purchase to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the city,” the resolution stated.
The masks were purchased for the use of conservancy staff and malaria workers in the city, who are exposed in the field to the virus.
When asked, Chennai Corporation Commissioner G Prakash said that the proposal for the procurement of the masks was sent on February 14 and there were a lot of changes in the rate between February 14 and March 24.
“Also, Central government notifications fixed Rs 10 per piece of triple-layer mask. Even after March 20, Tamil Nadu Medical Services Corporation’s rate was around Rs 10,” he explained.
A Chennai Corporation press release said that more than 46.25 lakh masks were handed over to the conservancy workers alone. Also, the civic body has a stock of 5 lakh masks, which would be given to the field workers.