July 21, 2011

ETA group faces the heat from new govt in TN over health insurance scheme

The pet project of the previous DMK government in Tamil Nadu, the Kalaignar health insurance scheme, may be scrapped after Governor Surjit Singh Barnala, in his address the 14th Assembly session last week, said, “The new government's intention is to provide good healthcare for the people. The existing insurance scheme does not address the demand of the people fully. So it has been decided to replace it by a new scheme.”

Chief minister Jayalalithaa had been insisting since before she came to power that the connection between Karunanidhi and the ETA group, the promoter of the scheme's insurer Star Health and Allied Insurance Company, should be probed.

In February, the AIADMK supremo alleged that through the scheme, an estimated Rs 2,000 crore of state funds had been siphoned off over four years, ostensibly to provide health insurance cover to the people of the state. “With the same money, 20 medical colleges with state-of-the-art general hospitals could have been set up in 20 districts," she had said.
V Jagannathan, CMD, Star Health and Allied Insurance Company, maintains, “We are only an insurer. We will do what the insured wants us to do. The existing policy is addressing surgery-related issues and the new government wants to improve it further.”

Another project in which ETA group is involved has also came under radar -- the new Rs 1,100-crore Assembly-cum-secretariat complex. The ETA group got the contract to construct the new complex from the previous government. Other major projects bagged by the group include a library and various road and bridge projects.

“There were alleged reports that wasteful expenditure went into the construction of the new complex, poor construction which created quality issue and inordinate delay. To inquire these issues a retired High Court Judge will be appointed," said the Governor.

The group through ETA Power Generation Ltd was also planning to invest around Rs 5,200 crore for setting up 2x660 MW power plants in Tamil Nadu. The company earlier said it was in the process of acquiring 500 acre of land on the south of Nagapattinam district for the power plant.

Link: Original Article

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