In a relief to citizens, the Gujarat government on Thursday reduced the rates for COVID-19 tests conducted at private laboratories from Rs 4,000 to Rs 2,500.
The announcement has come 10 days after senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel claimed that test rates at private laboratories in Gujarat were higher than many states.
Deputy chief minister Nitin Patel said government-authorised private laboratories will now charge Rs 2,500 instead of the present cost of Rs 4,000 for COVID-19 tests.
"If a person visits the lab with a doctor's prescription, then he or she will have to pay Rs 2,500. The
charges will be Rs 3,000 if a laboratory assistant is called home to collect samples," Patel said, adding that the new fee structure will come into effect immediately.
Moreover, private laboratories will lose their licenses if they charge more than the stipulated fee, he said.
Although COVID-19 testing in government-run facilities was free, around 500 persons choose to go to private labs every day, said Patel, who also holds the health portfolio.
Meanwhile, reacting to the announcement, leader of opposition Paresh Dhanani said people should not be charged more than Rs 1,000 for coronavirus test.
Earlier in a tweet on June 15, Rajya Sabha MP Ahmed Patel had asked why Ahmedabad-based private laboratories were charging Rs 4,500 for a COVID-19 test, when the rate for the same was Rs 2,200 in Mumbai.