The Madhya Pradesh government on Tuesday announced lifelong monthly pension of Rs 5,000 each for 40 people who lost their vision in botched surgeries at a state-sponsored health camp,acceding to an opposition demand.
The announcement was made by chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on the floor of the Assembly where he also said the incident will be probed by an expert team consisting of an additional chief secretary-level IAS officer, the dean of Indore medical college and a nominee of AIIMS, Bhopal.
The incident at Barwani – around 350 km from capital city Bhopal – came ahead of Chouhan completing 10 years in office last week and gave the opposition Congress plenty of ammunition to attack the BJP government in the state.
Chouhan, who spoke at the end of an adjournment motion brought by the Congress on the botched eye surgeries, said the monthly pension will be in addition to the Rs 2 lakh compensation announced earlier to each affected person.
Earlier, the Congress MLAs walked out of the house when health minister Narottam Mishra was speaking on the adjournment motion.
The Congress legislators were demanding a statement by the chief minister, who was not present, on the issue.
The chief minister was not in the House but returned later to address the House in the absence of the Congress MLAs.
Congress MLA Ramniwas Rawat, who opened the discussion on the adjournment motion, said the suspension of a doctor and the civil surgeon of Barwani was pointless when the loss of eyesight was a result of contaminated medicines used in the surgeries.
Demanding action against the manufacturer of the drugs, he said that firm that had supplied the drugs had a poor record and had been blacklisted earlier.
He said earlier too similar incidents have taken place in Indore and Barwani but the government does not seem to have learned a lesson.
Deputy leader of Congress legislature party Bala Bachchan said that the surgeries were not performed at a regular operation theatre but at a camp leading to the infections.
He said that almost half the posts of doctors and paramedical staff are lying vacant in government hospitals in the state.
“Are we living under British rule?” questioned Congress MLA Mukesh Nayak as he blamed the incident on chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan who was allegedly surrounded by a coterie of incompetent bureaucrats.