The lease and licences of all shops, booths and canteens running on the premises of government health facilities in Chandigarh will no longer get extensions, and will have to apply for fresh tenders if they wish to continue, UT health secretary Yashpal Garg said on Wednesday.
The announcement came after the UT health secretary withdrew the previous communications made by his predecessors, which allowed extensions without fresh tenders, based on a 2000 notification by the UT finance department.
The decision came weeks after it came to fore that the same firm has been running the sole chemist shop at Government Multi-Specialty Hospital (GMSH), Sector 16, since 1993 through multiple extensions and renewals, without fresh tendering.
“The lease and licence of some shops, booths and canteens were being extended for a long time on the basis of a finance department notification issued in March 2000, which was amended in 2002. However, the department has clarified that the orders were not meant for shops/booths located on the premises of health facilities. So, we are now withdrawing all directions issued by the then health secretaries regarding extensions of the licence and lease on the basis of that notification,” Garg said.
The health secretary added, “The administration will also immediately review the ongoing extensions of all shops, canteens and booths at hospitals and take corrective measures with the approval of the competent authority. Also, fresh arrangements will be made to float fresh tenders of such shops, so that allotment can be made through a fair, transparent and competitive bidding process.”
Allowing the same person or firm to continue with the lease and not adopting the transparent bidding process on a regular basis was also objected to by the CAG Audit, indicating huge loss to the government revenue.
The lease of the sole chemist shop at GMSH-16 will also be reviewed. Simultaneously, a four-member UT panel is conducting an inquiry into the alleged encroachment and demolition of passage by the shop after a local court ordered a stay on the chemist’s removal in the absence of any fact-finding inquiry by the health department.