Chandigarh (Punjab) [India], June 4 (ANI): Responding to allegations by the opposition about COVID-19 vaccines being sold to private hospitals by the state government for profit, Punjab health minister Balbir Singh Sidhu on Friday said that he will definitely initiate an inquiry.
While speaking to reporters, Singh said that it was not his department, and an inquiry will be made for the same.
"I don't have control over vaccines. This comes under the Chief Secretary and other officials. I just look over treatment, testing, sampling of COVID-19 and vaccination camps. We will definitely set an inquiry, I myself can inquire about the matter," he said.
He added, "We don't have the full picture. We will get to know by 3 pm today and we will release a statement. Purchasing is not my department. We have appointed several nodal officers for different departments. We will get a report and inform you."
Earlier, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) chief Sukhbir Singh Badal had demanded a High Court-monitored probe into the alleged selling of COVID vaccine doses by the Punjab government to private hospitals for profit.
"The Punjab government is getting vaccines at Rs 400 but selling them to private hospitals at Rs 1,060. And private hospitals is administering vaccine on higher prices. A case should be registered against Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu for diverting vaccines meant for the common man to private institutions," Badal had said.
He added that if this corporatization of vaccine distribution is not stopped, the SAD would be 'forced to approach the courts for justice'.
Further, he said that vaccine doses were available in the State but they were being sold to private institutions instead of being given free of cost to the common man.
He also claimed that in Mohali alone 35,000 doses were sold to private institutions to earn a profit of nearly Rs 2 crore in a single day.
He also condemned State chief secretary Vinni Mahajan for allegedly asking people to get themselves vaccinated at two private institutions at inflated rates.
Punjab recorded 2,206 new COVID-19 cases and 91 deaths in the last 24 hours, according to the state bulletin on Thursday. As many as 4,512 people recovered from the disease in the last 24 hours. The fresh cases pushed the total COVID case tally in the state to 5,74,114.
The active number of COVID cases in Punjab stands at 28,673. With the new fatalities, the COVID death toll in the state mounted to 14,840. (ANI)