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Private hospitals urge Bengal govt to lower GST on Covid test kits

Infirmaries welcome decision to reduce cost of testing and fix rates of ambulance services
Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee

Our Bureau, Agencies   |   Calcutta   |   Published 14.10.20, 05:00 PM

Private hospitals in the city have welcomed the state government's decision to reduce the cost of COVID-19 test from Rs 2,250 to Rs 1,500 as well as fixing rates for ambulance services.

They have requested the state government to consider lowering the GST on COVID-19 test kits.

"As the state government caps the cost of COVID test at Rs 1,500, we will be implementing it as per the directive, given that these are pandemic times. However, we would also like to present our case before the government to reconsider the rate as this is not financially viable for us, taking into account the cost of reagent, test kit and infrastructure.

"Contrary to popular belief, private hospitals have been suffering losses for the last eight months, and this will further affect our condition," Group CEO, AMRI Hospitals Rupak Barua said.

Sudipta Mitra, the chief executive of Peerless Hospital when contacted said, "Yes, we will definitely go by what the state government has decided. We will follow it on humanitarian grounds as we think it's our social responsibility. But we will also request the government to consider lowering the GST on the kits required to conduct the COVID-19 tests just like what has been done for the PPE kits."

Senior physician Dr Syamasis Bandyopadhyay of the Apollo Hospital said that during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic people should consider this as their responsibility towards society.

"There is no option of creating any controversy with this initiative of the state government. We welcome this move. But simultaneously people have to abide by the health protocol and follow precautionary measures to keep the disease at bay," Dr Bandyopadhyay said.

The state Cabinet on Monday brought down the rate of COVID-19 tests in the private sector from Rs 2,250 to Rs 1,500 apprehending a surge in the contagion in the coming weeks when the state will witness Durga Puja festivals.

The West Bengal Clinical Regulatory Commission, following a request from the state government fixed Rs 3,000 as ambulance charges for transportation of the COVID-19 patients considering the distance of transportation.


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