Bhopal: Panel expresses dismay over health cards to gas survivors

  • Sravani Sarkar, Hindustan Times, Bhopal
  • Updated: Nov 04, 2014 19:04 IST

The Supreme Court-appointed monitoring committee has expressed dismay over failure of the state government to ensure provision of integrated health smart cards to all the gas survivors despite a SC ruling to this effect.

Saying that "important work has remained pending too long," the committee has suggested use of third party assistance or outsourcing of work, if necessary, to expedite completion.

The suggestion came in panel's third quarterly report submitted to the MP high court last month. The monitoring committee report has been submitted as part of the hearing of a PIL on the medical rehabilitation of gas survivors being heard by the HC. A copy of the report is available with HT.

The apex court had, in its August 9, 2012 judgment, said the monitoring committee should ensure provision of health booklets and smart cards to each gas victims (about 5.7 lakh) irrespective of where the victim is being treated.

Read: Bhopal gas tragedy survivors to start indefinite fast in Delhi from Nov 10

The court had also directed the state government to provide all required assistance to the empowered committee to ensure the compliance of above direction.

The empowered committee, headed by Justice VK Agrawal, however, noted that the health booklets issued by the state government-run gas relief hospitals contained very sketchy details with no vital data about case history or treatment of patients.

Further, it noted that Bhopal Memorial Hospital and Research Centre (BMHRC) run by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has data of about 3.86 lakh patients to whom cards have been issued. Similarly, the state gas relief hospitals have data of about 86,000 patients, but there is no integration of these two databases.

Services of the ICMR and the National Informatics Centre (NIC) were sought for integration and computerisation of the data and issuance of integrated cards, but due to technical problems these agencies have shown inability to integrate the data, the report says.

"We have been following up the matter diligently, but it seems the state government and agencies are not taking it up seriously. The matter has been going on with no solution in sight and with result that the survivors continue to suffer," member of the monitoring panel Purnendu Shukla told HT.

State commissioner of gas relief and rehabilitation, RA Khandelwal, however, said that the state hospitals and BMHRC have provided health cards to the patients, but technical problems are being encountered for integration of data.

"But, it is not stopping the gas victims from availing any facility," he said, adding that the state government, ICMR and NIC will meet on November 11 to sort out the technical issues.

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