The man who blew the whistle on irregularities under the Mukh Mantri Punjab Cancer Rahat Kosh Scheme (MMPCRKS) has been sidelined from the programme by the Punjab health department.
According to an office order issued on May 21 by director, health services (DHS), Dr Ashok Nayyar, the charge of the MMPCRKS has been taken back from Dr Tejinder Singh Behal, who was the state programme officer of the scheme.
He was instrumental, along with doctors from the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh, in preparing the report regarding the empanelment of undeserving hospitals under the MMPCRKS. Dr Behal was a member secretary of the technical committee that made the report which led to the removal of 19 undeserving hospitals lacking infrastructure to treat cancer - from the scheme.
As per the order, the charge of the scheme has been given to Dr Jai Singh, a senior medical officer in the health department who was arrested by the Punjab vigilance bureau last year in a bribery case in Fatehgarh Sahib. He was posted as the civil surgeon there.
When asked about the change of guard, Dr Nayyar said it was just redistribution of work to bring more efficiency in the department.
In a two-part series, 'Cancer of corruption' (April 19-20), HT had highlighted that the MMPCRKS was not benefiting patients as hospitals had been empanelled despite being ill-equipped to deal with cancer cases.
Following the reports, chief minister Parkash Singh Badal had told the state health department to probe the role of officials who were responsible for the empanelment of undeserving hospitals under the scheme. Out of the total of 36, as many as 19 undeserving hospitals were dis-empanelled from the MMPCRKS.