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Guv cancels mediclaim policy contract

Srinagar, Oct 25: A month after rolling out the Group Mediclaim Health Insurance Scheme for employees, pensioners and accredited journalists, Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik has “cancelled” the contract to a private company.

In an interview to a New Delhi-based TV channel aired Wednesday night, Malik said he has “almost terminated” the contract after an investigation. “It will take couple of days (for the official cancellation order),” Malik said in the interview.

“I studied it myself. The issue is that the government had not issued any tenders. A private company had asked for tenders on behalf of another company. Those bids were not displayed anywhere on our (government’s) website. The tenders were changed to suit a particular company,” Malik said in the interview.

“It was full of frauds. I discussed the issue with the chief secratery and made it clear that such things can’t happen in my presence. So we decided to cancel it”.

The Governor’s administration had rolled out the scheme with much fanfare on September 20 this year.

An order issued by the Government of Jammu and Kashmir in September this year, read, “The policy has been tied with M/s Reliance General Health Insurance Company Ltd on annual premium of Rs 8,777 and Rs 22, 229 (for employees and pensioners respectively).”

Earlier this month, Reliance General Insurance had said that it has won the contract to provide health insurance cover to Jammu and Kashmir government staff after a “rigorous and transparent competitive tender process.”

The company’s statement came after Congress president Rahul Gandhi alleged that the general insurance company, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Anil Ambani’s Reliance Capital, got the health insurance mandate from the J&K government due to his proximity to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Expressing his displeasure over the recent order of introducing Urdu Bhagwat Geeta and Ramayana in JK schools, Governor Malik said the circular might be issued by some “naïve person.”

“Koi nasamajhaddmithajisnebhejatha (some naïve person sent the order). But I immediately scrapped the circular,” he said.

On Tuesday, the Jammu and Kashmir government ordered schools, colleges and public libraries to ensure that Urdu versions of religious scriptures like Gita and Ramayana be stocked in their libraries.

However, after facing public outrage, the government following day withdrew its order of introducing Ramayana and Bhagwad Gita in schools, colleges and public libraries in the state.

The order had triggered a controversy in the state with many questioning why scriptures from only one religion were chosen and others ignored.

Reacting to the order former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah in a tweet had said: “Why just the Gita and Ramayana? If religious texts are to be placed in schools, colleges and government libraries (and I’m not convinced that they need/should be) then why is it being done selectively? Why are other religions being ignored?”