‘Cancer killer’ machine gathers dust at SGPGI
The Rs. 8.33 crore cyclotron machine at the SGPGI, which could save lives of patients by early detection of cancer and reduce cost of diagnosis by 70%, is gathering dust for the last three years.
The installation of the machine was supposed to be completed in 2010, but the process is yet to see the light of the day.
Gujarat Isotopes Private Limited (GIPL), the company entrusted with the responsibility of the work, had backed out of the project. The firm was expected to complete the work in 10 months after it bagged the contract in 2009.
After this, the UP Rajkiya Nirman Nigam was given the task of completing the installation of cyclotron machine. A budget of Rs. 5.25 crore was approved by the governing body while Rs. 2.12 crore was already available with the PGI administration from the forfeited amount of GIPL. The rest of the amount was arranged as loan from the hospital’s revolving fund. But till now UPRNN has also failed to complete the task.
Last year, the state government sought an explanation from the institute’s bosses following a complaint by a former finance officer (FO) of the PGI alleging large-scale misappropriation of government funds in the machine’s purchase and installation.
The FO lodged the complaint with the principal secretary, medical education after he was transferred out of the PGI.
Consequently, an FIR was lodged by the SGPGIMS administration blaming GIPL and the former FO for financial irregularities like release of payments to the company against norms.
On February 7, the state government constituted a twomember inquiry committee to look into financial irregularities related to its purchase and construction of the building to house it. The committee would submit its report on March 7.
A tiff between a former finance officer and the PGI administration has reduced the machine to a mere showpiece, said a doctor formerly associated with the Post graduate institute.
Around 40 patients are prescribed diagnostic tests for cancer every day and if anyone of them is dying because the facility is not being provided by the PGI then who is responsible? he asked.
Patients have to go to Delhi or Mumbai to get the test done. PGI is importing isotopes from Mumbai, which it could have produced through this machine and saved crores of rupees, said experts.
Though the inquiry committee will submit its report within a month, but the question still remains -- will the cyclotron machine ever be installed?