‘Drugs, lab equipment lying unused in ESI dispensaries’

Drugs, lab equipment and furniture were reportedly lying unused in many Employees State Insurance (ESI) dispensaries and hospitals across the State. The Vigilance and Enforcement (V&E) officials were shocked to see ‘drugs in huge quantity lying unused in many hospitals’.

The V&E officials, who formed teams and investigated the alleged irregularities in the ESI Scheme, inspected the hospitals, dispensaries and diagnostic centres. They spent about three months verifying the records, indents, bills, stock registers and the payments made to different firms in the last five years and submitted a report to the government on their observations.

V&E officials interacted with the officers and staff and representatives of various firms who supplied medicines and material and recorded their statements. A few employees reportedly confessed doing undue favours to some companies and officers.

“The ESI officers and employees said that they awarded contracts to some companies based on the recommendations of two Ministers during TDP regime. The authorities paid some crores of rupees to the firms causing huge revenue loss to the government,” the V&E officials said.

Cartons untouched

Medicines worth crores of rupees were not despatched to the dispensaries and lab equipment and furniture were rusting in the storerooms. In some hospitals, drugs packed in cartons were not even opened for the last few years, they said.

“We found medicines packed in cartons in the ESI Hospital at Gunadala in Vijayawada. When asked about storage of drugs for a long period and consequent expiry of the medicines, the staff concerned couldn’t give a proper reply,” a vigilance officer said.

“ESI authorities gave contracts to many companies. We have verified the documents of only a few firms so far. Further investigation is needed to bring out the facts,” a V&E official, who monitored the probe, told The Hindu.

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