The Odisha government headed by chief minister Naveen Patnaik will add a new initiative to its cradle-to-grave social welfare schemes.
It has decided to offer free transportation of patients who die in hospitals to their homes. Doctors said there has always been provision for dead body carriers at district headquarters hospitals and other top medical facilities in the state, but one had to hire them and pay to the authorities on per kilometre basis.
To be named ‘Mahaparayan’, the scheme will make body carrier vehicles -- with specific logo and colours -- available at all 30 district headquarters hospitals and three government medical colleges, SCB Medical College at Cuttack, VSS Medical College at Burla and SKCG Medical College in Berhampur, officials said.
Vehicles will also be deployed at the government-run Sardar Vallavbhai Patel Post Graduate Institute of Paediatrics – better known as Sishu Bhawan – Acharya Harihar Regional Cancer Centre at Cuttack, Capital Hospital at Bhubaneswar and RGH in Rourkela.
“The scheme will be formally launched at a date and time fixed by the chief minister. The government has written to all districts about the scheme but a detailed guideline on when exactly the scheme will be implemented is still being formalised,” said a senior health department officer not wanting to be quoted.
Health minister Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak and secretary Arati Ahuja were not available for comment.
The vehicles will be procured with money from the chief minister’s relief fund and handed over to the district Red Cross societies. The district collectors will soon float tenders for the vehicles.
A total of 40 vehicles are initially expected to be deployed at the hospitals for the purpose and may be increased depending on the load, he said. At least 10 patients die daily in each of the three medical colleges only.
The BJD-led Odisha government has evolved several social security schemes for poor over the years to hook them to the party. Having a budgetary allocation over Rs 2000 crore, the schemes include Mamata Yojna for pregnant and lactating mothers and Harischandra Yojna for the last rites of the dead.