PIL was filed on Monday before the Delhi High Court seeking direction for the Railway Ministry to provide fare concession for cancer patients in Rajdhani Express to reduce their financial burden and travel time during such a tough period.
The Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by an NGO - Fariyaad Foundation - said major hospitals specialised in treatment of cancer are situated in metropolitan cities and it would be beneficial for patients if they were provided fare concession in Rajdhani Express starts as it covers most of the big cities in lesser time.
“Oncologists in the country are irregularly distributed and are heavily concentrated in the urban areas of the country. As Rajdhani Express is one of the preferred means within the reach of the masses for long, safe, speedy and comfortable travel, it is indispensable that cancer patients and their assistants are provided concessions for the same,” the plea said.
The plea mentioned the data of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) as per which estimated number of people living with cancer in India is around 2.5 million, and every year, about 7 lakh new cancer cases are registered while about 5,56,400 people die suffering from the same.
“Official data show there are only about 1,000 trained oncologists in the country and the ratio of oncologists to cancer patients is about 1:2,000. The patient load is more in smaller towns, there is a dearth of oncologists and infrastructure in these regions. India has 27 dedicated cancer hospitals and an additional 300 general or multi-specialty ones providing care to cancer patients,” said the petition.
The NGO said it had filed an RTI application in September last year seeking information regarding sections of persons getting concessions in Rajdhani Express, to which ministry provided the list of beneficiaries, and also stated that cancer patients and attendant are not being provided concessions.
The plea also sought direction for the ministry to provide emergency quotas for reservation to the post-chemotherapy patients.
The plea likely to come up for hearing on January 18.