Laxity on part of Jammu and Kashmir State Aids Prevention and Control Society (JKSACS) has robbed AIDS patients of Rs 1 crore meant for them.
In financial year 2014-15, around Rs 1.25 crore was sanctioned for aiding people living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIV) of the Jammu region. As per criteria, any patient with annual income of less than 3.5 lakh per annum was entitled to avail the benefits.
Each HIV patient was slated to get Rs 4,000-6,000 per year. The money was to be given in monthly, quarterly, half yearly and on yearly basis.
The JKSACS conducted the exercise through third party in the fourth quarter of financial year 2014-15 and nearly 300 HIV patients eligible for benefits were enrolled. However even four months after the exercise, the eligible beneficiaries did not get a single penny for the society.
As per sources in JKSACS, the money has lapsed as the society could not utilise the money before March 31, 2015. Rs 1.25 crore was kept at disposal of JKA, however, the JKSACS decided to use only 60 lakh in November last year.
The HIV patient already facing social stigma, saw a glimmer of hope while filling the forms but failure on the part of JKSACS came as a cruel joke to them.
Around 10 patients (no one with over 10,000 annual income) hailing from far off areas came to Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) centre in Government Medical College Hospital(GMCH) Jammu, returned without medicines as centre functioned for half day due to a local holiday on Monday.
HIV patient Shyama Devi (48), name changed, has come all the way from border village of Hiranagar around 65 km to ART centre Jammu to get the drugs said, "Around six months back while filling the forms it was assured that we will get around Rs 400 per month. The sum would have saved my two times per month bus fare to Jammu. I could have taken some vitamins and improved my immunity. I live for months without medicines as I cannot gather the bus fare due to my financial condition. This money, paltry for many, would have come as boon to me." Director JKSACS Dr Mohan Singh said that money has not lapsed.
"Couple of meetings are scheduled for next few days. One with principal GMCH, Jammu and other on July 16, in Jammu or Srinagar where a decision will be taken to disburse the money to PLHIV patients," he said.