Tamil Nadu Cong mocks Centre, state over test kits

Tamil Nadu Congress mocks Centre, state over test kits, asks how they will protect people

AFP/file photo for representation

The Congress in Tamil Nadu on Tuesday mocked the Union and state governments over the procurement of rapid test kits for coronavirus, seeking to know how they would protect the 130 crore plus Indians when they could not even buy "quality equipment" after scrutiny.

Targeting the governments here and at the Centre over rapid kits, the usage of which has now been halted, Tamil Nadu Congress Committee president K S Alagiri claimed that 'profiteering' in the deal was scuttled only due to the court intervention.

In an order last week, the Delhi High Court fixed the price of the antibody test kits at Rs 400 each as against Rs 600 approved by the Indian Council of Medical Research. The ruling came on a plea by two companies, Rare Metabolics Life Sciences Pvt Ltd and Aark Pharmaceuticals, which had entered into an agreement with Matrix Labs, for distribution of the kits in India.

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Matrix Lab is the the importer of the kits. "How the Central and State governments are going to protect the 136 crore people when they could not even buy quality kits after due scrutiny?" Alagiri asked in a statement.

A day after his party's ally DMK questioned the rationale behind the 'sky high' rate of Rs 600 per unit by the state government, the Congress leader said the Centre has no answers to the questions being raised over the matter.

The Indian Council of Medical Research on Monday asked the states to stop using COVID-19 rapid testing kits procured from China due to their poor quality even as the government said not a single rupee will be lost in cancelling the orders as payments were not made to the Chinese suppliers.

India procured around five lakh rapid antibody test kits from the two Chinese firms, Guongzhou Wondfo Biotech and Livzon Diagnostics, and they were distributed to several states reporting rising cases of the coronavirus infection. The Tamil Nadu government too has announced returning 24,000 rapid test kits imported from China.