Dhaka Shishu Hospital has proposed to buy medical equipment at prices several times higher than what another government hospital spent on the same devices, officials said.

In August, for the second phase of expansion, Dhaka Shishu Hospital authorities proposed to procure   vortex mixture at Tk five lakh though the Jamalpur Medical College Hospital had bought it for Tk 32,000.

Vortex mixture is used in laboratories to mix small vials of liquid.

Dhaka Shishu Hospital proposed to buy each colorimtre at Tk 50 lakh, that is at 40 times of Tk 1,25,000 at which Jamalpur Medical College Hospital has proposed to procure the device used to diagnose diseases, said officials.

Dhaka Shishu Hospital also proposed to procure PH Metres at the rate of Tk 13 lakh, which is 31 times the price of Tk 41,800 proposed by JMCH.

Dhaka Shishu Hospital’s issue of excess prices surfaced when the government is facing serious criticism over corruption in procurements of pillows and other household appliances by the PWD for furnishing the apartments of the Rooppur Nuclear Power Station and other public procurements.  

Officials said they also detected that the Dhaka Shishu Hospital proposed to procure automated cell counters, X-Ray machines, ultra sonogram machines, EIT machines and portable echo machines.

Abul Kalam Azad, member of the Socio Economic Infrastructure Division of the Planning Ministry, said they objected to the issue excess prices and demanded explanations from the Dhaka Shishu Hospital about the matter.

He told New Age on Saturday that the planning ministry would not forward the expansion project to the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council for approval until satisfactory explanations were given by Dhaka Shishu Hospital.

Transparency International Bangladesh executive director Iftekharuzzaman blamed the supplier-politicians and bureaucrats for the corruption in public procurements.

He said that without institutional reforms and capacity building of planning ministry it would be difficult to curb such corruption.

He lamented that the government approved Dhaka South City Corporation’s revised project recently allowing the DSCC to buy 44,598 LED bulbs for Tk 289 crore or at an average price of Tk 64,801.

The unusually high price of bulbs escalated the DSCC’s Infrastructure Improvement Project to Tk 1,719 crore from Tk 1,202 crore in two years.

DSCC, however, said that the average price of the LED bulbs would be Tk 35,105 and the average price increased to Tk 64,801 when the costs of the 30 accessories for fixing the bulbs were taken into account.

The country fell six notches in the Transparency International’s global corruption perception index 2018 for the lack of effective measures to curb corruption.

Bangladesh slipped to 149th rank from 143rd among 180 countries, according to the survey report released by Berlin based Transparency International released in January.

In the first week of October, the Planning Commission rejected a proposal of the Chittagong Medical University for buying pillows at the rate of Tk 27,720 per piece and pillow covers at the rate of Tk 28,000 per piece when their market prices range between Tk 300 and Tk 1,000.

In another incident reported in May, the authorities building blocks of flats under the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant Project bought pillows for Tk 5,957 each and the cost of lifting each to the other floors of Tk 760 each; electric stoves were bought at the rate of Tk 7,747 per piece with the additional lifting cost of Tk 6,650 per piece and electric kettles were bought at the rate of Tk 5,313 per piece with the additional lifting cost of Tk 2,945 per piece.

Dhaka University economics teacher MM Akash said the excess prices would benefit the suppliers and the corrupt officials.

The planning commission detected anomalies in the construction of a power sub-station under the Tk 245.76 crore 2nd phase of Dhaka Shishu Hospital Expansion Project.

The Shishu Hospital authorities wanted the new power substation saying that the PWD had built the existing substation on the underground water reservoir under the first phase of the project for which using the power substation became risky.

Three stories of the 20-stories Dhaka Shishu Hospital building was completed at a cost of Tk 25 crore in 2016 in the first phase.

In 2012, prime minister Sheikh Hasina laid the corner stone of the new bui8lding for the Shishu Hospital.

The planning commission also detected another irregularity in Dhaka Shishu Hospital’s expansion project for constructing RCC drains on the 4th floor rather than in the ground floor.

Dhaka Shishu Hospital director Syed Shafi Ahmed said he was preparing the replies to the planning commission’s queries.

He said that equipment to be purchased for his hospital were differed from those to be used by the Jamalpur Medical College Hospital.

He said that the systems needed by his hospital would be able to diagnose many patients simultaneously.

He expressed doubts about the planning commission officials knowledge regarding medical equipment.

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