Masks procured at prescribed rate: BJD

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Bhubaneswar (TF Bureau): The ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) today once again reiterated that no discrepancy is involved in procurement of face masks and it has bought it as per the guidelines of the Centre.

BJD spokesperson Dr Sasmit Patra today addressed a press conference here where he stressed that the state government has procured face masks at par with other states.

“The Centre had fixed Rs 16 for procurement of a mask. The state government has not spent any penny above that. I would like to tell people of Odisha that no misappropriation has taken place in buying of masks,” Patra said.

The parliamentarian claimed that Maharashtra has procured 3 ply masks at Rs 16 per piece, Gujarat at Rs 12, Karnataka at Rs 18.74, West Bengal at Rs 18.74 and Tamil Nadu at Rs 15.96.

“In February this year, the price of mask was Rs 1 per piece as the demand was low. In March and April, the price shot up due to imbalance in supply chain. While COVID19 infection was spreading, it was utmost necessary to procure the medical essentials for safeguarding the lives of Corona warriors. So, the state government procured them as per the price fixed by the Union government,” the MP said.

The Opposition, however, continued to target the BJD over the issue. The Congress today submitted a memorandum to Governor Prof Ganeshi Lal demanding CBI probe into the incident. It also staged protests at district level.

Worth mentioning, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, in its March 24 notification had said that the retail price of 3 ply surgical mask contain a layer of melt blown non-woven fabric shall not be more than Rs 16 per piece.

Notably, the state government had procured 30 lakh masks from Tamil Nadu-based Sri Vishnu Disposables Pvt Ltd

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