Raj Health Minister using NHM funds for ACs, cable connections for himself

By IANS | Published: January 31, 2020 09:58 PM2020-01-31T21:58:29+5:302020-01-31T22:10:04+5:30

Rajasthan Health Minister Raghu Sharma has allegedly been blatantly misusing NHM funds in buying ACs, water bottles and recharging cable TV connections at his residence flouting all norms of the scheme, instituted to provide universal access to equitable, affordable and quality health care to common people.

Raj Health Minister using NHM funds for ACs, cable connections for himself | Raj Health Minister using NHM funds for ACs, cable connections for himself

Raj Health Minister using NHM funds for ACs, cable connections for himself

The minister has been allegedly making continuous requests to the National Health Mission to get disposable glasses, furniture and top-end vehicles available to him right from January last year, soon after the Congress formed the government in Rajasthan.

In the documents which are with , it has come to fore how Sharma asked the NHM's Chief Engineer to install six split ACs and one tower AC in his official bungalow on January 23, 2019 at a cost of Rs 8,04,962.

Intervening in the matter, the Additional Chief Secretary, in the note sheet, wrote that the "residence of honourable ministers are furnished by the PWD as per my knowledge".

Later, the minister withdrew the letter and in a fresh communication, removed the reference to his residence 'Bungalow number 18' in it and replaced it with 'office situated in residence', officials told .

The minister did not stop here and on March 12, 2019 sought that the NHM provide a HD box Recorder, two Dish HD Tata Sky, a Dish HD Airtel and a table lamp. Thereafter, on May 1, 2019, a request was again made to Chief Engineer to get the TV connections recharged for his house - an annual cost of Rs 36,000.

Also on January 1, 2019, sub-divisional officer Rajiv Kumar Shukla requested the NHM Chief Engineer for getting an Innova car available for the minister.

The vehicle, as per norms, is being given by the government's motor garage. However, this vehicle was demanded by Sharma from the NHM for his son, who has been driving it since last one year, an official said. The minister already has a Bolero and other vehicles allotted to him from the government.

The average cost of this rented vehicle is Rs 60,000 per month, but if the distance crosses the fixed mark, then the cost touches Rs 70,000 per month.

Officials of the department, speaking on condition of anonymity, also said that the minister had also ordered for 2 more ACs from the Rajasthan Medical Service Corporation and the Rajasthan Nursing Council too, while as per the norms, only three ACs are permitted for any minister's residence and have already been allotted by PWD.

The misuse of NHM funds was not limited to TV recharge and AC allotment only but also in getting Cello steel bottles (three pieces), disposable glasses (200 pieces), mosquito racket (four pieces), computer table (two big and two small) and other furniture, including big and small Godrej almirahs.

The demands come even as it is the PWD which bears the responsibility to furnish ministers' bungalows and so all these come over and above the expense already made by it.

The NHM is intended to strengthen the health system in rural and urban areas for reproductive-maternal-neonatal-child and adolescent health, and to tackle communicable and non-communicable diseases. However, in Rajasthan, the state Health Minister for availing lavish facilities at his bungalow.

tried contacting the minister several times by calling him and texting him, but he did not respond.

A month back, Sharma drew sheer criticism for the death of over 100 children in JK Lon Hospital for the want of warmers which were non-functional in the hospital and required just a few thousands rupees to get rectified.

Meanwhile, an NHM official, on condition of anonymity, also said that minister has giving verbal orders to get food packets, rental cabs, accessories and many other stuff which go unrecorded in note sheets. "His activities truly prove the Rajasthani phrase, 'Muft ka chandan, ghise mera nandan' (free of cost facilities are availed by this happy-go-lucky man)," the official told .

(Archana Sharma can be contacted at archana.s@.in)

( With inputs from IANS )

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