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Maharashtra: State in denial after World Bank exposé of misuse of AIDS Funds

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Maharashtra: State in denial after World Bank exposé

Sumitra Deb Roy, Tuesday, January 22, 2008 03:20 IST

MUMBAI: After the World Bank's exposure of large-scale misuse of

funds meant for HIV/AIDS projects in the state, officials are still

in a state of denial.

DNA had reported on Monday how the review of the World Bank exposed

glaring discrepancies in the National Aids control programme-II in

Mumbai and Maharashtra.

The review revealed lack of financial control over the money given to

the NGOs, improper selection of NGOs and rampant demand for bribe.

Even kits for testing HIV/Aids were found to be of substandard

quality providing poor quality of tests and false results.

Health minister Vimlatai Mundada said she is in Kerala attending a

health seminar and was unaware about the issue. The Maharashtra state

AIDS control society (MSACS) that was established to implement the

Aids control programmes was found violating the guidelines of the

national aids control organisation (Naco). When questioned, Dr

Prakash Sabde, project director of MSACS refused to talk on the


" I am in Delhi right now and not in a position to comment, " he said.

When this reporter insisted on his comment, he said that he has not

yet received the report.

Even the Mumbai districts Aids control society (MDACS) that was

started by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) for the

implementation of HIV/Aids programme in Mumbai received flak from the

World Bank. The MDACS did not

have any expenditure documentation for NGOs funded by it. When asked,

project director of MDACS, refused to comment.

However, the principal secretary, health Chandra Iyengar said that

she was looking at whatever reports the media had published. " We have

not received the World bank report so we are referring to whatever

has come out in the media, " she said. " If discrepancies are proved,

the state has powers to initiate an inquiry, " added Iyengar.


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