Maharashtra state owes medical suppliers nearly Rs 100 crore since 2013
Even as the administrative officer is transferred from south Mumbai hospital for failure to sign off on long-pending bills, it turns out that state owes medical suppliers nearly Rs 100 crore since 2013
A single signature was all that was required to ensure that patients of Cama & Albless Hospital continued to receive essentials like antibiotics, IV fluids, syringes, and scheduled drugs. Instead, what Cama's Administrative Officer (AO) gave was yet another sign of apathy in government-run hospitals. Thanks to the AO's failure to sign off on bills pending since 2013, licensed drug suppliers abruptly ended the flow of medical supplies to the south s Mumbai hospital. Following an inspection, the Directorate of Medical Education and Research (DMER) has decided to transfer the errant officer. Cama owes the medical suppliers Rs 6 crore.
State owes big time
However, it is not the only hospital that owes the suppliers. The Maharashtra government owes R95 crore to 100 manufacturers under the All India Food and Drug License Holders Foundation for supplies provided to all 17 medical colleges across the state. Of these, JJ hospital owes the highest amount — Rs 20 crore. After much pleading, the state government has finally allocated a fund of R100 crore to the nearly bankrupt suppliers.
"Since 2013, R95 crore has been pending with the government. After we complained to the DMER, the state allocated a fund and all the administrative officers from medical colleges released the paperwork for the pending bills. But the officer at Cama Hospital delayed it despite repeated complaints," said Abhay Pandey, president of the suppliers' association. Upon investigation, the DMER too found the AO at fault, and Dr Pravin Singare, director of the department, passed an order to transfer him to another hospital. Speaking to mid-day, Dr Singare said, "We have ordered to shift the officer to another hospital and bring another officer to this post. After the reshuffling, we will release the pending amount." When asked why such a big amount has been pending since 2013, he said, "We didn't have the fund earlier. Now that the money has been allocated, we are gradually releasing the funds to them."
Others no better
But Pandey alleged that the payment from the other 16 institutes is stuck as well, despite final approval from the finance department at Mantralaya. This is because the respective AOs are yet to give their final authorising signature. "When a bill is pending for a long time, an administrative officer needs to sign twice for the money to be released. First, after the audit, when the documents are sent to higher authority at Mantralaya. Then, after the finance department approves it, the AO needs to give his signature along with the reason behind such a long delay. But so far, none of the AOs have visited the Mantralaya to provide their signature. So, our money is still pending. We are on the verge of bankruptcy as we have not been paid since 2013," said Pandey.
No. of years govt hospitals have owed suppliers
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