New Delhi, June 5: Hitting out at the Congress-led government in Punjab, Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri alleged on Saturday that Covid vaccines supposed to given for free to the beneficiaries were being sold at a higher price in the state to make profit.
Addressing a virtual press conference, Puri said, "On May 29, Vikash Garg, the IAS officer in-charge of the Covid vaccination programme in Punjab, said that 4.29 lakh doses of Covishield were purchased for Rs 13.25 crore at an average rate of Rs 309 per dose, but it was sold to private hospitals for Rs 1,000 apiece."
He further said that the Congress-led Punjab government had purchased 14,190 doses of Covaxin for Rs 4.70 crore at an average rate of Rs 412 per dose.
"People were charged Rs 1,560 for a single dose of Covishield which was bought for Rs 309 by the Punjab government and sold to the private hospitals for Rs 1,000," Puri said.
The Civil Aviation Minister also claimed that he has information about two hospitals in Mohali which sold vaccines for Rs 3,000 apiece.
Puri pointed out that over 24 crore doses of Covid vaccine have been provided to the states and Union Territories (UTs), of which more than 1.65 crore doses are still available with the states/UTs for administration.
Taking dig at former Congress President Rahul Gandhi, Puri said, "Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has been asking ‘where are our children's vaccines?' In Congress ruled Rajasthan, vaccines are been dumped in garbage, while in Punjab people are making a profit out of it. This is the culture of Congress."
Puri also attacked the Congress for misleading the farmers over the new farm laws.
"Confusion and lies were spread on the new agricultural laws. It was being said that the MSP system won't exist, the mandis would be closed etc. The truth is that after the enactment of these laws, record procurement of wheat and paddy has been done at MSP," Puri said.
Earlier in the day, Puri had tweeted, "The difference in priorities is stark. Central government has transferred Rs 26,000 crore directly into the accounts of Punjab farmers for wheat procurement during Rabi season. While Punjab government profiteered by selling vaccines to private hospitals. Earns about Rs 2.4 crore. Old habits die hard!"
After facing criticism, the Punjab government had on Friday evening issued an order for taking back Covid vaccine doses from the private hospitals.
Punjab Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu claimed that as per the information provided by the state in-charge for Covid vaccination, about 42,000 doses were allotted to the private hospitals out of which only 600 were administered to the people.