The Covid care centre at the Bangalore International Exhibition Centre (BIEC) was shut down on Tuesday. The facility, billed as India’s largest, did not have more than 800 patients at a time.
The BIEC facility attracted attention when the BBMP ordered the contractors to supply 26 essential items on a rent of Rs 800 per bed for 100 days. Four contractors had set up close to 6,500 beds, but allegations of corruption prompted the chief minister to direct the BBMP to buy the items since the rentals were costly.
Senior IAS officer Rajendar Kumar Kataria, who is in charge of setting up Covid care centres, told DH that the government bought furniture and other items for the BIEC centre spending Rs 4 to 4.5 crore. The items will not be wasted and be sent to various hostels and hospitals, he said. Since all the halls at the centre were not utilised, the rent for a month or month-and-a-half would come up to Rs 7 crore. Since not many patients are coming to BIEC, he suggested that it would be better to close the facility than wasting public money.
The BIEC Covid care centre was functional from July 27 to September 15. Despite being touted as a facility to accommodate 10,100 beds for asymptomatic and mildly symptomatic patients, its capacity was eventually reduced to 6,500 beds, including 1,500 for doctors and medical staff. Arrangements were made only for 1,500 beds, inclusive of doctors and medical staff. The centre did not cross 800 patients at its peak. Only one out of five halls was utilised for Covid patients, while the workers were busy shifting furniture and beds to government and university hostels.
The government has ordered to give 2,500 sets of furniture to hostels run by the social welfare department; 1000 sets to horticultural university hostel in Bagalkot; 1000 to minority welfare hostel and 1,000 to the GKVK in Bengaluru. The remaining furniture will be given to government hospitals and hostels.