The Tamil Nadu government has saved ₹9 crore-₹10 crore a month by curbing irregularities in providing food and accommodation to doctors and nurses during the COVID-19 pandemic, Minister for Medical and Family Welfare Ma. Subramanian said on Thursday.
The revision in the amount spent on food and accommodation and the improvement in quality helped the government save ₹30 lakh a day, he told reporters.
“There have been reports of largescale irregularities in providing food and accommodation to doctors and nurses…in the last one-and-a-half years. We took up a review for over 20 days to ensure that there are no irregularities and that every single rupee is spent properly. Senior officials conducted a series of reviews and came up with a decision,” he said.
A sum of ₹550 was spent on providing food to a doctor or nurse a day. In some districts, transport charges were added, and ₹600 was spent a day, he said. “When we conducted an inquiry, we found that many firms, including those which did not run hotels, were involved in supplying food from other hotels and were getting an additional payment from the government.”
Following this, discussions were held with popular hotels in each district for supply of quality food. “From ₹550 to ₹600, we have fixed the rate for food at ₹450 in Chennai, ₹375 in Tiruvallur and ₹350 in a few other districts. The food is being supplied from these hotels from May 21. Compared with the amount spent under the previous government during the first wave, we are saving ₹30 lakh a day towards food. This amount was going to middlemen earlier,” he said.
Similarly, doctors are provided with accommodation in hotels for one week of COVID-19 duty, followed by one week of quarantine.
“For this, ₹900 was spent for a person a day. We held talks with the same hotels and made it clear that there were no middlemen and fixed the rate at ₹750. We have reduced the charge by ₹150 per person per day,” he pointed out.
By saving ₹30 lakh through the revision of the rates, the government has saved ₹9 crore-₹10 crore a month, the Minister added. “When the pandemic comes to an end, those involved in these irregularities will be exposed,” he said.