Loyalists always get rewarded! YS Jagan Mohan Reddy proves it again, by awarding Aurobindo Pharma the contract for providing emergency medical services(108) for the state of Andhra Pradesh and scrapping the agreement with Bharath Vikas Group(BVG) in February 2020 favouring Aurobindo Pharma.
It’s a common practice to the incumbent governments to give the contracts to the people they favour, but at what price is the question here.
According to GO released by the Government of Andhra Pradesh awarding the contract to Aurobindo, it mentioned that the amount to operate the new ambulances is Rs. 1,78,072 per month and old ambulances at Rs. 2,21,257 per month. Previously the BVG was paid Rs. 1.31 lakhs per month. The Government now is paying Rs. 47,072 additionally for the procurement of a new ambulance, which is an increase of 36%. Also, Rs. 90,257 are additionally paid for the operation of new ambulances, which is an increase of 69%.
After coming to power, Government of Andhra Pradesh procured 432 new ambulances for “108 services” in September to make an ambulance available for every Mandal. Adding to that a 10% of the total ambulances additionally are made available as a backup making the total ambulances under “108 services” to 773 including 341 old ambulances.
By inducting Aurobindo Pharma to manage “108 services” YSRCP government is making a burden of 914.5 Crores to the state exchequer, which is 306 Cr additional to that of the BVG group.
Why is Government so keen on helping Aurobindo Pharma by giving a contract to the tune of Rs. 1000 Crores, paying more than 300 Crores additionally. The 108 services are not the first contract to see revision under the Jagan Mohan Reddy. Perhaps the present Government is known for its revisions and renderings of projects. From the Power Purchasing Agreements to the Polavaram retendering, the current regime has vehemently attempted to change the contractors. In all these changes, the Government tried to show either savings or the alleged irregularities by its predecessor.
Neither was the case with 108 services. The new allocation saw an Rs. 300 hike in the cost for the Government. Perhaps, there is more to the story.
The Chairman and founding director of Aurobindo Pharma are P V Ramprasad Reddy. P.V. Ramprasad Reddy relinquished his position as Executive Chairman after being named by Enforcement Directorate(ED) in Jagan Mohan Reddy’s illegal assets case for alleged favours to Aurobindo Pharma during his Father Y.S. Rajashekara Reddy Tenure as a CM, in 2009.
The principal opposition, TDP, has raised fingers against the Vijay Sai Reddy in the Aurobindo controversy as well. As it goes, P.V. Ramprasad Reddy’s son P.Rohith Reddy is married to VijayaSai Reddy’s daughter. The TDP has alleged active corruption by the YSCRP’s second in command guarding his son-in-law.
P.V. Ramprasad Reddy also faced charges of insider trading after the Panama papers. In May 2020, the case was settled with ED by paying 22 Crores before even they initiated the probe.
The regime changes have often seen the rise and fall of loyalties. But a public health allocation as this has invited criticism from all corners. YS Rajasekhar Reddy and his son are known for taking along their faithful. Perhaps, P.V. Ramprasad Reddy has already paid the price for in the past. The contract for 108 could only be a token gesture in return; there could be more in the years to come.