The Uttar Pradesh NRHM Scam: How Rs. 9472 Crore Were Eaten Up

Posted on April 6, 2012 in Politics

By Shruti Shreya:

If 1200 appears like 21000 to you while getting your eyes tested at an ophthalmology centre in U.P., don’t start worrying that you might need thicker glasses. It’s just how things work in U.P., where government officials buy eye charts worth Rs. 1200 for Rs. 21000, and here’s the best part, EACH!

These eye-charts, which are basically E-game charts, can be easily found on Google search, printed and displayed in a well-illuminated area for testing one’s eyes, should ideally cost a practical person, less than a rupee! The U.P. health department officials however felt they needed to splurge on medical equipments like baby weighing machine (bought for Rs 2,500 ; real cost Rs 750), patient’s swivel stool (bought for Rs 4,800; real cost Rs 650) because they felt they had the moral, nay, national obligation of making “good use” of the 9,472.25 crore rupees that was disbursed to the National Rural Mission [NRHM] in U.P. in the last five years.

While companies like Surgicoin, headed by a certain Mr. Naresh Grover, made true sense of the word coin in their name and converted it to millions of bucks, another contractor Saurabh Jain duped the U.P. health ministry by supplying them with health kits that contained products bought from the Sadar Bazaar in New Delhi. Now, one can only wonder if any person, with even a little bit of common-sense, would ever buy medical kits, meant for child delivery, for Rs. 32 crores. But wait, don’t let your jaws hit the ground just yet. There’s more to come. A certain Om Raj Enterprises, that had footed a bill of Rs. 22 crores for supplying ambulances for the carriage of pregnant women, was found to have invested in two-wheelers and private mini-vans (not worth being called ambulances) from the money given to them. Now, I understand we tend to get inspired by movies but to get this carried away after watching 3 idiots is a bit much!

The NRHM scam, which is already under investigation by the CBI, has led to the arrest of many culprits involved in it but this new piece of information was brought to light only after the CBI filed charge sheets on 03/04/2012. But the worst is yet to come. These charge sheets were filed by CBI only to prevent the accused in this scam from acquiring bails. It really does not figure in the whole scam or how funds are being wasted on such trivial things in our country.

The biggest joke of 2011 was the word “scam” but are we laughing away the bigger picture here? In a developing nation like ours, funds certainly need to be expended. But the biggest concern should be, if they are being used for the right reasons. It is about time our government officials went back to school and learnt the lesson of spending wisely. No wonder one of the Swiss Bank directors rightly pointed out that “Indians maybe poor, but India is not a poor country.

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