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Memorandum seeking seizure, recall of substandard medical equipments

To

 Shri Ravindra Narayan Ravi

The Hon’ble Governor of Nagaland

Nagaland: Kohima.

 

In Re: Memorandum seeking to immediate intervention, seizure & recalling of all the sub-standard medical equipment (without label), procured for the purpose of COVID-19 to ensure the safety and preserve the Life and Liberty  of the people in the State of Nagaland and to initiate inquiry/investigation against the officials responsible for procuring cheap quality medical equipments for COVID-19 and stern legal action against the officials on detection in cases of misappropriation of public funds and putting the lives of the people and healthcare professionals at risk.

Hon’ble Sir,

The undersigned are driven by the Constitutional obligations to issue this memorandum in the light of series questionable lapses detected in procurement of medical equipments by the Department of Health and Family Welfare, Nagaland (hereinafter known as Dept. of H&FW for brevity sake) and also humbly seeking the indulgence of your benign Authority for seizure/recalling of all the sub-standard Covid-19 pandemic medical materials procured  by the said department, which are now in the custody of  the mentioned authority and in the designated COVID-19 hospitals in the State and pass directives for inquiry/investigation against the officials for procuring cheap quality medical equipments putting the lives of 2 million people at risk including the healthcare providers and for initiating stern legal action against the responsible officials in case of detection of misappropriation of public funds and.

This urgent memorandum is necessitated in the light of the repeated hue and outcry of the concerned people with regard to substandard Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) being provided to the healthcare workers and the subsequent admission of lapses in procuring PPEs by the Hon’ble Minister for Health & Family Welfare under the pretext of “panic order and purchase” declared on 21.04.2020 at Kohima before the public to justify his department’s manipulations. Admission of lapses under crocodile’s tears in any way does not improve the quality of substandard Covid-19 pandemic medical materials procured and knowingly kept till date and which are ready for use.

Copy of the Morung Express news paper clipping dated 21.04.2020 quoting the Hon’ble Minister’s public declaration is hereby enclosed marked as Annexure-A.

Your Honor is aware that when the first Covid-19 pandemic suspected patient was identified by a Private Hospital in Dimapur, the Dimapur District Hospital which has been designated as Covid-19 Hospital was still under renovation as reported in the Nagaland Post on 12. 04. 2020 and 13.04.2020 depicting strong lack of seriousness of Government in its response to the global pandemic.

Extracts of the NPN Newspaper publication dated 12.04.2020 and 13.04.2020 are hereby enclosed and marked as Annexure-B & C-1 to C-2.

Series of questionable lapses were detected in the process of fact digging on procurement details of COVID-19 Medical equipments by the Dept. of H&FW, the details of which are highlighted as under:

  1. The Department of H&FW claims to have legally constituted body of Purchase Committee on 26.03.2020, with (1) Director (Health) Designate as Chairman, (2) Addl. Director, Purchase DHFW, as Member (3) State Program Officer, NHM as Member, (4) Jt. Director Purchase DHFW as Member, (5) Dy. Director Purchase DHFW as Member, (6) Sr. Accounts Officer DHFW as Member, (7) Expert(s) Official(s) as co-opted Member.   But this above committee was just in paper for show without any role to play. However, the actual Purchase Committee was also legally formed by the Govt. in supersession of the above Purchase Committee with only four members namely-  Dr. Neikhrielie Khimiao, Director DHFW, Dr. Kevichiisa Director NHM, Dr. Longai Phom, Dy Director Store DHFW and Dr. K Sorhie Joint Director DHFW, but they were never informed and their appointment was kept in the dark till 04.04.2020. In the mean time the Department kept on procuring things at exorbitant prices without the knowledge of the so called Purchase Committee. Even after the formation of the Committee their signatures were found to be missing everywhere in the purchase order details, which clearly indicates that the Purchase Committee was being regularly bypassed and trespassed before and even after the formation of the Committee in order to serve their vested interest under the category of “lapses under panic order and purchase”. There is no record or report of any quotation being invited nor there was any open tender being flouted by the Department any time anywhere which is although mandatory.

Copy of the Appointment Order of the Purchase Committee dt 26.03.2020 is hereby enclosed marked as Annexure-D.

  1. That huge amount of fund for Covid-19 pandemic were spent to procure inferior quality of PPEs, Dead Body Bags & N95 Masks, among which  only few quantities of the purchased items were of Standard Packaging with Certification Label, but majority of the Covid-19 medical materials were Non- Standard Packaging with ordinary Label or Non- Standard Packaging without Label.  The 500 Nos. of so called Dead Body Bags procured are “Non- Air Sealed Dead Body Bags” with very loose stitching providing numerous porous of Non- Standard Packaging without Label which is definitely below prescribed standard considered to be dangerous are also kept ready for use. Record shows that often full amount was made as advance payment before receiving the purchased items. All these huge purchase took place without the knowledge and consent of the above referred Purchase Committee or Verifying Committee under the pretext of “panic order and purchase” as claimed.

Photographs of PPEs of Non- Standard Packaging without Label, Dead Body Bags with porous and Non- Standard Packaging and Non- Label, expired PPEs and N95 Masks of 13 years old stock given by Morung Express dated 14.04.2020 are enclosed and marked as Annexure-E-1 to E-6 (colly).

  1. File noting of the department of H & FW in connection with procurement of COVID-19 medical equipments further reveals that the standard regulation protocol were completely ignored and not maintained as per the rules. The four members Purchase Committee formed by the Govt. is given very limited assignments and their roles were taken by the Store in Charge DHFW, Sr. Accounts Officer DHFW and the Principal Director DHFW keeping the Purchase Committee in the dark thereby purposely procuring inferior quality of PPE, N95 masks and surgical equipment at exorbitant prices, some of which are still yet to reach the DHFW store. That the mandatory file noting with reference to the formation of Purchase Committee nor file noting in reference to the purchase of medical items does not exist in the DHFW’s files. Surprisingly, there is no record of file /document for Covid-19 pandemic medical materials purchase prior to 21.03.2020 in the Directorate of H&FW. These lapses can never be categorized and justified as “panic order and purchase” under this seriously dangerous worldwide Covid-19 pandemic situation.

13 sample copies of file noting at DHFW on procurement of the said equipments aforesaid are enclosed and marked as Annexure-F-1  to  F-13 (colly).

  1. The Govt. failed to set up any Committee to check the quality of the medical equipment in spite of the hue and outcry by healthcare workers against the inferior quality of PPEs in the state, as such, in order to save the critical situation the following members volunteered themselves on their own volition as a Verifying Committee namely:- 1. Dr Neikhrielie Khimiao, Director of Health and Family Welfare as convener, 2. Dr Thorhuseh Katiry as Member, 3. Dr Margaret as Member, 4. Dr K Sorhie Joint Director DHFW as Member, 5. Dr Longai Phom Dy, Director Store DHFW as Member, 6. Dr G Thong as co-opted Member, 7. Dr John Kemp as co-opted Member, 8. Dr Sendimeren as co-opted Member, who had a sitting on 15.04.2020 and picked probably believed to be the best ones and certified the PPEs, Masks and Triple Layer Masks as usable and dispatched to different districts only to be returned by the front liners citing the risks of using it. This game of taking and returning PPEs indicated the sign of poor and not usable quality, which also projects a huge chain of abnormalities in the department and not caring about the lives of the people who are coming forward sacrificing their own lives for the service of humanity. The above mentioned Verifying Committee was formed consisting of volunteers for a particular occasion and they were never being invited to certify and check when the consignments of Covid-19 materials arrived to the DHFW’s Store. The refusal of the Department to give free hand to the Purchase Committee and Verifying Committee before placing the orders or after receiving the consignments exposes the hidden agendas with vested interest which cannot be condone by a mere  admission of lapses under “panic order and purchase” category.

Copy of the Verification Committee sitting record is enclosed and marked as Annexure-G.

  1. The claim of the Department that 56, 000/- PPEs, 42,000/- N95 Masks, 2,76,000/-Triple Layer Masks, 11 ICU Ventilators, 50 CPAP Machines, 9 Transport Ventilators, 1007 B Type Oxygen Cylinders, 119 A-Type Nitrous Cylinders, surgical items, medical equipment and Drugs etc received till 25.04.2020 were all verified and approved by Quality Control Committee and Purchase Committee was not true because there is no such verification document nor their signatures appears  in the file noting and  calls for proper investigation so as to ensure that such kind of so called “panic lapses” does not repeat again in future and risks the lives of everybody.
  2. The Store In-Charge in the DHFW acted as the Designated Officer to receive consignments and distribute without any guidelines in the pretext of emergency situation although concerned designated senior officers were attending office regularly but were ignored and sidelined

(kindly refer the file noting in Annexure-F for proof).

  1. The DHFW could not mention any single point as to how it ensured the safety and quality of PPEs supplied to healthcare workers which are without any standard packaging or label where there is no name of manufacturer, or address, or manufacturing batch or date of manufacture and date of expiry, or any quality control certification symbol. But instead the DHFW could only provided a letter dt 27.04.2020 from the Cozier Enterprises Unit no. 3426, Arya Pura Old Subzi Mandi Delhi 110007 and the said letter certified that PPE kits supplied to the department of Health & Family Welfare Govt. of Nagaland  by Cozier Enterprise “had to forgo the standard packaging’ due to non-availability of standard packaging materials. This is a clear case that their PPEs are Non-Standard Packaging without Label, with no Quality Certification Symbols, date of Manufacture, or date of Expiry etc. Compromising all these minimum safety requirements gives rise to a deficit of TRUST and SAFETY as well as it gives serious legal complications as such many of these items were returned to the Directorate but still many are lying in the custody of the districts hospitals.

Copy of Cozier Enterprise’s letter dated 27.04.2020, is enclosed and marked as Annexure- H.

  1. Under the direction of the concerned Hon’ble Minister, the Principal Director has issued an Order vide NO-PD/PA//Misc/2019-20/311-15, Dated. Kma 18/04/2020 requiring the doctors to choose their PPEs, but, how are the doctors expected to choose the PPEs when some PPEs are without any manufacturer’s label, or quality assessment by the competent authority in the department?
  2. The Department also failed to furnish details as to how quality assessment by Quality Control Committee/ Verifying Committee is being done or what are the parameters or quality assessment standards relied upon for assessment of the various medical equipments supplied and received. There are no laid down criteria in the DHFW to check or determined the quality which is dangerous for the public and should not be allowed under “panic order and purchase” The Department also failed to provide the details of Quoted rate, Purchase rate along with GST details and the MRP of all materials and equipment purchased till date of RTI application as has been sought in our two RTI applications.
  1.  In response to the RTI application dated 24/04/2020, the PIO of the DHFW vide its letter No:DHFW-19/RTI/23/2016-17 dated Kohima the 27th April, 2020 stated that the amount received from all sources to the department was Rs. 4143.88 Lakhs (Rupees four thousand one hundred forty three lakhs and eighty eight thousand) till 25.04.2020 out of which total expenditure incurred by department of Health and Family Welfare to tackle COVID-19 pandemic as on 25.04.2020 was Rs.1,227.24 lakhs (rupees one thousand two hundred twenty seven lakhs and twenty four thousand).  There was a balance amount Rs 2,916.64 lakhs (rupees two thousand nine hundred sixteen lakhs and sixty four thousand) was remaining with payment due to the tune of Rs 3050.26 lakhs (rupees three thousand fifty lakhs and twenty six lakhs) out of which an amount of Rs 133.62 lakhs (rupees one hundred thirty three lakhs and sixty two thousand) is running in deficit. However, the file noting with reference to the sanctioning of the money by the Purchase Committee and Quality Control Committee with their names, designations and signatures including Vendors GST details, details expenditure and cash memos does not exist.

Copy of the account statement enclosed and marked as Annexure-I.

Needless to state Nagaland is affected by the global pandemic, and under such given circumstances one cannot afford to entertain any foul play putting at risk the life of millions of people in the name of corruption. Any sign of corruption or lapses on the part of the government authorities have to be immediately checked and proper legal action must be initiated to deter misappropriation of public funds when the economy of the nation is collapsing.

Therefore, it is earnestly prayed before your Honor to please take the following steps:

  1. Seize all the sub-standard Covid-19 medical materials and reject or recall all of them to ensure the safety of the “Life and Liberty” of the people of the State of Nagaland more in particularly to the medical fraternity, and, till such arrangement is made the healthcare workers may not be pushed to Covid-19 duty for their safety, since the healthcare workers in grass root fields cannot ventilate their grievances to the public as per the Chief Secretary Nagaland’s Advisory Order dated 15.04.2020 denying the public servants to speak against their respective authorities.

(Copy of the Advisory Order is enclosed marked as Annexure-J)

  1. To ensure safety and security of the doctors and nurses. As the medical fraternity are terrified after the severe mindless assault by Police atrocities meted to two doctors when one of them was returning home after 17 hours of Covid-19 duty while the other too was returning home after his office.

Copy of press release and FIR are enclosed and marked as Annexure- K-1 to K2

  • Direct the appropriate authority to initiate inquiry/investigation against the officials responsible for procuring cheap quality medical equipment for COVID-19 putting the lives of millions at risk in the state
  1. Initiate stern legal action (s) against the officials in case of detection of misappropriation of public funds.
  2. Any other steps as your Honor deems fit and proper in public interest and justice.

            Thanking You Hon’ble Sir  .

                                                                                               Dated Kohima 11.05.2020

Yours Sincerely

Niketu Iralu                                                                                                           Robert N Solo
Chairman, Kezekevi Thehou Ba                                                                     Gen Secy, Kezekevi Thehou Ba
Kerünyü Ki, Secu Zubza                                                                                    T Khel, Kohima Village
+91 8787479502                                                                                                    +91 7005368147
niketuiralu@gmail.com                                                                                     bobsolo60@yahoo.com

 

Kuolachalie Seyie                                                                                                  Visedel Kin
Sr Member, Kezekevi Thehou Ba                                                                    Sr Member, Kezekevi Thehou Ba
I G Stadium, Kohima                                                                                            Kitsubozou, Kohima
+91-9436005219                                                                                                    +917641906104
kuolachalie@yahoo.com

Copy to:

  1. The Hon’ble Chief Minister, Govt. of Nagaland Kohima for necessary action.
  2. The Hon’ble Chief Secretary, Govt. of Nagaland for necessary action.

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