Shimla, Sep 10 (IANS) Former union minister Virbhadra Singh Monday accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Himachal Pradesh of receiving kickbacks in purchasing ambulances under the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) programme.
"It's a matter of concern and shame that BJP leaders have allegedly got kickbacks to the tune of Rs.7.24 crore in the purchase of ambulances," he said in a statement.
Virbhadra Singh also accused the state government of misleading the people of the state by renaming central government-sponsored schemes and putting its own label on them to take false credit.
"The BJP has been taking credit for starting free ambulance service under the name of Atal Swasthya Sewa Yojna, while in reality it's a central government scheme," he said.
The state Congress unit chief said the Emergency Response and Transport Systems scheme was introduced by the central government on a pilot basis under NRHM in 2005 to provide emergency ambulance services and medical care.
"Till date, the scheme has been implemented in 22 states with 4,500 ambulances carrying 20,000 patients every day providing emergency services to nearly 45 crore people in the country with an expenditure of nearly Rs.600 crore per year," Virbhadra Singh said.
"Through hundreds of newspaper advertisements, hoardings, and TV shows, the government is trying to mislead the voters by creating a false impression that this scheme is a BJP scheme," he added.
The Himachal Pradesh health and family welfare department launched the '108' Atal Swasthya Sewa, an ambulance service, Dec 25, 2010, the birthday of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
The GVK-EMRI (Emergency Management Research Institute), a Hyderabad-based company, was hired by the government to run the ambulance service across the state.
The ambulance project is jointly funded by the central and the state government.