JIPMER says free treatment to BPL patients only on production of ration cards, draws flak

The decision has evoked strong opposition from political parties as well as the Lt Governor Dr Tamilisai Soundarajaran

Published: 24th September 2021 07:51 PM  |   Last Updated: 24th September 2021 07:51 PM   |  A+A-

The Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research (JIPMER) in Puducherry

Express News Service

PUDUCHERRY: JIPMER has announced that free treatment to people living below the poverty line (patients with income below Rs 2,499/- per month which is the BPL limit for Puducherry) will be provided only on production of ration cards as evidence from October 1.

According to a circular issued by the JIPMER Medical Superintendent, free treatment including OPD, investigations and implant treatment will be provided to all patients who have BPL card (ration card) from any state. The patient has to bring the BPL card (ration card) issued by their state for availing free treatment. This will came into effect from October 1 and after that no other proof of income will be accepted, said the Medical Superintendent.

So far, JIPMER had been providing free treatment, but did not insist on production of any proof of income for all general treatment and investigations. Hence all categories of people have been availing free treatment by declaring a low income. Only for special treatment patients and expensive investigations like MRI scan and others, patients were asked to get a tahsildar certificate on income.

However, this decision of JIPMER has evoked strong opposition from political parties as well as the Lt Governor Dr Tamilisai Soundarajaran. While political parties have demanded its withdrawal, the Lt Governor has directed Puducherry Health Secretary Dr T Arun to take up the issue with JIPMER authorities and ensure that the status quo is maintained.

Villupuram Lok Sabha member D Ravi Kumar questioned whether JIPMER was functioning as a private hospital to charge patients and said that it is not practicable to carry a ration card for treatment. Moreover, it is illegal to ask a patient to carry a ration card when they come for treatment, said Ravi Kumar.

Demanding JIPMER should forthwith withdraw its order, the DMK warned of a massive agitation against it. DMK (South) Convener and Leader of the Opposition R Siva in a statement on Friday said that Covid-19 had hit the people severely and they cannot manage any amount for treatment now. The Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM JAY) is not accepted in Jipmer and was not properly being implemented in several private hospitals in Puducherry. At this juncture, the announcement of Jipmer has made the people of Puducherry angry, he said.

Siva charged the BJP-led government at the Centre of depriving people of Puducherry in several aspects. Jobs in Jipmer are not being provided to locals and the present announcement has enhanced the people's anger against the institute, he alleged.


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