People of Bathinda and Rampura Phul, who have been in the forefront of the movement to donate blood, are not happy over the Rs. 700 increase in price of per unit blood for patients in private hospitals. Blood donors from the region have demanded the resignation of the health minister over the issue.
Various NGOs and blood donation organisations met at Rampura Phul on Saturday to chalk out a strategy to hold protest against the move.
Activists of Sahara Blood Seva; Naujwan Welfare Society, Bathinda; Guru Hargobind Welfare Club; Malwa Sahara Club; Naujwan Blood Seva; and Khatri Sabha, Rampura Phul; attended the meeting.Sahara Blood Seva president Sandeep Verma said, "Earlier, the cost of the blood per unit for private and government hospitals was Rs. 300. But the government has increased the price of a blood unit to Rs. 1,000 in case the patient is admitted to a private hospital. We oppose the move and will intensify the protest in case the government did not roll back the hike."
He said, "The government does not produce blood, so it does not have the authority to fix its price. Blood is donated by the common man. Bathinda and Rampura Phul have been in the forefront of the blood donation movement and many organisations here have been working in the field. We are surprised as to what prompted the government to increase the price."
Sonu Maheshvari of Naujwan Welfare Society, said, "People prefer private hospitals as government hospitals are in a bad shape. Government hospitals suffer from bad administration and it forces people to go in for private hospitals. It is unfortunate that those in need of blood will have to pay more."
He said, "It is a cruel joke on the people. It is a planned strategy by the government to loot the people. It is the primary responsibility of the government to provide basic health facilities to people at a low cost. But the government has been adopting a commercial approach."
Verma said, "Health minister Madan Mohan Mittal should resign as he has failed to fulfil his responsibilities to people. The government should first improve its hospitals so that poor patients do not go in for private hospitals; only then should it think of increasing the price of blood."