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RJD demands high-level probe into ‘irregularities’ in Covid testing in Bihar

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NEW DELHI: Lalu Prasad’s Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) demanded a high-level inquiry on Friday into the alleged irregularities in the Covid-19 testing in Bihar, after reports suggested glaring gaps between what is on paper and on the ground.

Raising the issue through a Zero Hour mention in the Rajya Sabha, RJD MP Manoj Kumar Jha said reports in a national daily have suggested fudging and manipulation of the testing data.

The number of tests to detect the coronavirus infection jumped from 10,000 to one lakh in seven days and to two lakhs in a fortnight, he said.

Names of people registered as being tested either do not exist or the contact numbers and other details are false.

“There is no match of name and mobile numbers…10 times, ‘0’ (zero) has also been given as the contact number…no contact-tracing could be established,” Jha said, citing the news report.

“A high-level inquiry should immediately be constituted to look into the matter,” he demanded.

The RJD leader suggested that valid government identification proofs such as Aadhaar card or a PAN card should be relied upon while conducting such tests.

Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu too remarked that this was a matter for inquiry.

“The issue is important,” he said.

While Rajamani Patel of the Congress demanded that the Buddhist stupas at Deorkothar in Rewa district of Madhya Pradesh be declared an archaeological site of national importance, B Lingaiah Yadav of the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) raised the issue of the industrial corridor in the southern state.

Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Maharaja Sanajaoba Leishemba wanted the Manipuri script on Indian currency notes, Muzibulla Khan of the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) pitched for the constitution of a flying squad to verify the construction of toilets under the Swachh Bharat Mission.

Kanakamedala Ravindra Kumar of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) wanted the Krishna River Management Board to be kept in Vijayawada and not shifted to Visakhapatnam and Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) opposed the clubbing of nine institutes for the differently-abled into four clusters.

Ashok Sidddharth of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) demanded the Centre footing 100 per cent of the post-metric scholarship for the members of the Scheduled Caste (SC) communities because the state governments, with limited financial resources, have been curtailing such scholarships after the funding of grants to the students was revised to a 90:10 (state-Centre) ratio from the 60:40 arrangement earlier.

Shamsher Singh Dullo of the Congress raised the issue of the Centre not releasing its full share of education grants for SC students to states like Punjab.

Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment Thaawarchand Gehlot countered this, saying utilisation certificates were not given by the state and there were other irregularities as well.

Any due amount will be released if the utilisation certificates are given, he added.

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