Contraceptives: Artificial shortage helped pvt players

The shortage has been caused by the inability of the Public Sector Undertaking HLL Lifecare Limited (HLL) to meet the required target.

The Union Cabinet had in 2005 directed the Health Ministry to procure 75 <g data-gr-id="27">per cent</g> of the total required condoms and other contraceptives from Hindustan Latex Limited (HLL). The rest 25% was to be procured from <g data-gr-id="36">private</g> sector through tenders. However, since HLL is unable to meet the demand, the government has been forced to turn to private companies. However, <g data-gr-id="34">cumbersome</g> tender procedure has delayed the procurement.

Among the several reasons for <g data-gr-id="31">inability</g> of HLL to meet the condom supply <g data-gr-id="33">target</g> has been <g data-gr-id="32">diversion</g> of funds. Despite being equipped with modern state-of-the-art equipment and no shortage of manpower, the condom production unit has been financially emaciated by the diversification of the funds into other areas. 

Enquiries revealed that huge cache of funds was being diverted to company-floated subsidiary HITES (HLL Infratech Services Ltd) with a mandate to provide infrastructure services. <g data-gr-id="45">Evidence</g> is available that it exported 1,06,739 metric tonnes of iron ore fr­om Belekeri port be­tween January 2009 and May 2010 without valid permits. This was done despite the CBI probing export of iron ore from Bellary to China in <g data-gr-id="44">mid 2005-06</g> by showing fake shipping bills. The agency had also sought <g data-gr-id="40">sanction</g> of Ministry of Health Affairs for <g data-gr-id="41">prosecution</g> of its managing director Dr M Ayyappan.

“While iron ore export is a ‘lucrative’ business, it also creates space for private players in the condom sector by creating <g data-gr-id="39">shortage</g> of the contraceptive,” said a Health ministry official. Several attempts to contact Joint Secretary Ministry of Health Dharitri Panda, who is looking into HLL files and CBI applications regarding HLL, was unavailable for comment.

Charges have been brought against M Ayyappan, Chairman and Managing Director of HLL Lifecare Ltd, RP Khandelwal, Director (Finance), HLL Lifecare Ltd, SN <g data-gr-id="37">Sathu</g>, Senior Vice-President (Government Business) & Chief Executive Officer, HITES, and Arundhati <g data-gr-id="38">Kandwal</g>, Deputy Vice-President, HLL Lifecare Ltd.
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