Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) President Sukhbir Singh Badal today demanded the immediate dismissal of Health minister Balbir Singh Sidhu for presiding over the vaccine and Fateh kit scams and asserted that in case this was not done till June 15 the SAD would ‘gherao’ the residence of chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh.The SAD President was addressing a two hour long symbolic dharna near the residence of the Health minister here which was attended by the party’s senior leadership including legislators, former legislators, constituency incharge and district presidents only due to Covid concerns.Speaking at the ‘dharna’, the SAD President said “we will continue to strive to ensure justice to the people of Punjab in the vaccine scam in which instead of giving free vaccines to the people, the Congress government sold vaccines at a hefty profit to private institutions and also allowed the latter to fleece the people further. This amounts to playing with lives and is reprehensible. Balbir Sidhu is directly responsible for this corrupt act and in case he is not dismissed we will approach the Governor as well as the courts for justice”.Asserting that Balbir Sidhu was indulging in one scam after another, Mr Sukhbir Badal also took the lid off the Fateh Kit scam of the Congress government on the occasion. He said under this scam the price of the medical kits which was supplied to the people during Covid pandemic was jacked up repeatedly by inviting one tender after another despite the fact the first tender was valid for a six month period.
Giving details, Mr Badal said the original tender was won by Sangam Medical Store by quoting a figure of Rs 837 per kit but the tender was unexplainably allotted to the medical store at Rs 940 per kit on April 3. He said even though this tender was valid for a six month period for supply of 3.5 lakh kits, the government reinvited tenders on April 20 and issued a purchase order for supply of the same kits to Grandway Incorporation at Rs 1226 per kit. He said Balbir Sidhu did not stop there. “A third tender was issued and Grandway was again selected to deliver the Fateh kits at a price of Rs 1338 per kit”. Stating that this was a cut and dried case of corruption, Mr Badal said “it is noteworthy that Grandway does not even fulfill the criterion of having a medical license but was still chosen to deliver the kits to the government. We demand an impartial inquiry into this scam and exemplary punishment to the guilty”.The SAD President also took on the chief minister on the occasion, saying “a soldier always puts his life at stake in the battle field and does not hide at home like Capt Amarinder Singh”. He said Punjabis were shocked that the chief minister was not ready to spend a single rupee on purchase of medicines even though he was spending Rs 150 crore on advertisements to earn self publicity.
He said the chief minister was directly responsible for the death of 15,000 people during the Covid pandemic in Punjab adding the highest death count in the State was due to the Congress government’s refusal to ensure medicines, oxygen and health care facilities. He said the government also failed to rein in private institutions who continued to exploit the people by charging as much as Rs 25,000 per day for providing a hospital bed. “It is also shocking that the chief minister refused to listen to our requests to open Covid Care centres in all blocks and purchase vaccines worth Rs 1,000 crore directly from the manufacturers to vaccinate the entire population within a period of six months”.Mr Badal said the SAD on its part had done its duty to the people by starting Oxygen Sewa as well as ‘langar sewa’ across the State. He said the SGPC had also risen to the occasion and established Covid Centres at several places.The Rally was attended by the SAD senior leadership including Prof Prem Singh Chandumajra, Janmeja Singh Sekhon, Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, Dr Daljit Singh Cheema, Hira Singh Gabria, Surjit Singh Rakhra, Baldev Mann, Gobind Singh Longowal, Gurbachan Singh Babbehali, Sohan Singh Thandal, Pawan Tinu, N K Sharma, Lakhbir Singh Lodhinagal, Dr Sukhwinder Sukhi, Baldev Khaira, Kanwarjit Singh Rosy Barkandi, YAD President Parambans Romana, Paramjit Kaur Landran,Charanjit Singh Brar,Gurpreet Singh Raju Khanna,Kanwal jit Singh Rubi ,Charanjit Singh Kalewal, & Advocate Harman Preet Singh Prince.