Cancer, thalassemia patients in Punjab to get free travel cards soon
The development came a month after Hindustan Times highlighted that cancer patients have to shell out money from their pockets on bus fare to visit hospitals for treatment.Updated: Aug 31, 2018 11:25 IST
Cancer and thalassaemia patients in Punjab will now be getting free travel cards under the Mukh Mantri Punjab Cancer Raahat Kosh Scheme soon.
The health department has given an order of about 12,000 such cards for printing, which will be distributed to all the civil hospitals across the state.
An HT Impact
The development came a month after Hindustan Times highlighted that cancer patients have to shell out money from their pockets on bus fare to visit the Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh, or any other hospital, for treatment as majority of civil hospitals across the state were run out of free travel coupons, which were disbursed among the beneficiaries earlier.
Satish Chandra, additional chief secretary (health and family welfare), said that taking cognisance of HT’s report they called the Punjab Roadways officials, who advised them to print travel cards instead of coupons.
“The roadways department will send us the monthly budget of how many patients availed the free travel and accordingly, we will reimburse them,” he said.
Chandra said the cards will be printed in four to five days and the distribution process will be started after that.
Officials said free travel cards will be issued to the beneficiary by the civil surgeon. “The civil surgeon will mention all the details of the patients, including from where to where they will travel and for how many times in a month,” they said.
The previous SAD-BJP government had in 2011 announced to provide free travel facility to cancer patients under the Mukh Mantri Punjab Cancer Raahat Kosh Scheme.
The government had supplied ₹20, ₹10 and ₹1 coupons in bulk to all the civil hospitals that year. The coupons were valid only in Punjab Roadways or PRTC buses.
As per data on the state government’s website, as many as 8,799 beneficiaries were registered under the Mukh Mantri Punjab Cancer Raahat Kosh Scheme till December 29, 2017, while 3,089 people were registered from January 1 to May 11 this year.
TP Singh Sandhu, assistant health officer at the Jalandhar civil hospital, said they have recently received a letter — demanding number of beneficiaries of free travel from the district — from the higher authorities.
“We have sent the requirement of about 400 patients,” he said.