On the initiative of the Delhi Police North East Unit , 47 private hospitals have begun offering discounted treatment to youths from northeastern states in NCR.
Over the last four days, police said at least 147 youths used this facility at hospitals across the national capital region. Out of these, 26 were treated in Delhi.
At the DPNEU office in Nanakpura, a help desk that runs 24/7 was set up to verify the antecedents of the applicants and provide approval letters.
It all started last month when the nodal officer of the North East unit, joint commissioner of police, Robin Hibu, met the management of top city hospitals and sought their help.
He told them that thousands of youths who come to work in Delhi from the seven northeastern states were from lower and middle-class families.
Unable to adjust to life in the plains, many fall ill and return home. Most of them couldn’t pay their medical expenses.
The hospitals have assured the police they would offer at least a discount of 15-30%, if they receive a recommendation from the NE unit. The facility, Hibu said, was not available for government servants.
“Anyone who wants to use this facility must approach the nodal officer of the Delhi Police. After verification, we will give the applicant a referral letter,” said Hibu.
Hibu said any North East resident in Delhi was eligible for treatment. “They should not be government employees. These top hospitals are offering discount under the Corporate Social Responsibility scheme,” he said.
In each city hospital, two nodal officers will deal with the police and verify the referral letters.
The DPNEU, a separate unit of the city police, was set up to address the problems of NE residents in Delhi. It has over the last two years helped fund the final rites of NE youths who died in the city. In at least 15 cases, the victims’ kin have been unable to take the bodies home.
In March, the ministry of home affairs sanctioned a grant of `5 lakh for the unit to fund their last rites. After racist attacks on people from the North East, a special recruitment drive was held in Sikkim and the Seven Sister States last year.
Around 400 men and women joined the city police and are undergoing training at the Police Training College in Jharoda Kalan.
Joint Commissioner Hibu said the unit was also in talks with diagnostic centres and labs across the city.