Srinagar: Separate purchase committees for medical colleges and hospitals of J&K have been formed by the state government, a move that has drawn criticism for the way it bypasses the Jammu and Kashmir Medical Supplies Corporation Limited (JKMSCL).
As per the new government order, sanction has been given to reconstitution of purchase committees for various medical and dental colleges of J&K, their associated hospitals, and various district hospitals.
Doctors and officials told Kashmir Reader that the order has made procurements independent of the JKMSCL. “It will bypass the corporation and empower doctors and officials to make purchases as per their will and wish,” said an administrator.
Previously, JKMSCL made all the purchases for medical colleges and hospitals of J&K under a centralised system.
“The corporation has been operating from Kashmir and Jammu divisions simultaneously and is responsible for the procurement of drugs, medical equipment, hospital machinery and other items on basis of e-tendering. The new order will make it irrelevant,” said a senior doctor.
He added, “It will waste lot of time and put extra burden on the state exchequer, as there will be multiple tenders and multiple suppliers. It will also affect the uniformity of rates of drugs and essential equipment.”
The four committees formed by the new order are: Purchase Committee for Government Medical College Jammu/ Srinagar and associated hospitals; Purchase Committee for Government IG Dental College Jammu/ Government Dental College Srinagar; Purchase Committee for Directorate of Health Services Jammu/ Srinagar; and Purchase Committee for Directorate Indian System of Medicine.
The order says that the Chairman of the Purchase Committees should be free to co-opt any expert as may be required in the interest of administration.
“The Purchase Committee shall be responsible for invitation of tenders, preparation of comparative statements and finalization or award of rate contracts,” says the order.
It also lays down guidelines for the tendering process and mentions the amount for annual turn-over.
“Emergency items like critical-care equipment and life-saving drugs would now go through bureaucratic rigmarole to be approved for purchase,” said an official at GMC Srinagar.
He said that critical-care equipment and life-saving drugs were earlier purchased through a single window system after the approval of JKMSCL.
The Commissioner Secretary for Health and Medical Education, Atal Duloo, told Kashmir Reader that these purchase committees were formed to make emergency medical purchases hassle-free and fast.
“The role of the medical supplies corporation is highest in the procurement system. But there are some important items required in the teaching institutions which are difficult to purchase through JKMSCL,” he said.
“Similarly, in district hospitals some items are needed during emergency situation and there is 25 percent allocated for it. All these purchases will be made through these purchases committees rather than locally on high rates. We will ensure that JKMSCL approve these purchase and gives NOC,” Duloo said.