Prime Minister’s tall promises ring hollow as West Bengal gets deprived of State Cancer Institute

Prime Minister’s tall promises ring hollow as West Bengal gets deprived of State Cancer Institute
The Union Health Ministry has announced that around 16 SCIs will be set up throughout the country, but interestingly West Bengal and all the North-eastern states except Tripura have failed to get such hospital.

The state has to remain happy only with three Tertiary Care Cancer Centre (TCCC). They will come up at Burdwan, Murshidabad and North 24 Parganas. The decision of the Centre justifies Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s claim of its step-motherly attitude towards the eastern states. Banerjee had repeatedly alleged that the Centre was not considering the state government’s appeals.

In recent times, it had been observed that the Centre was depriving the state from its legitimate demands and cutting short various budgetary allocations. But this time, West Bengal was given a miss in a crucial front of health care service as a result of which the people from the state will face problems. Modi has time and time again spoken about the strengthening of Universal Health Care System so that all the citizens of the country could be provided with better healthcare and financial protection. But his promises seemed not to have translated into action.

The Union Health Ministry will set up around 16 SCIs and around 32 TCCC across the country through the implementation of “Tertiary Care for Cancer” scheme of National Programme for Prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases and Stroke (NPCDCS). It was seen that the states like West Bengal, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Nagaland, Mizoram, Meghalaya have not got SCIs whereas Tripura proved to be lucky enough as the Centre has decided to build such a hospital at Agartala.

According to a recent announcement of the Centre, the TCCCs will be constructed at three venues in West Bengal ~ Burdwan Medical College, Murshidabad Medical College and Hospitals and Sagore Dutta Memorial Medical College and Hospital in Kamarhati. The decision received sharp criticism from the doctors’ fraternity in the state who claimed this move as “uncalled for”.

Various doctors’ organization in the city said that the Centre must reconsider the decision as it would have an adverse effect on the health sector. Some, however, said that PM Modi’s promises remain in the realm of wishful thinking and his claims are “exaggerated rhetoric”.

Modi government laid stress on a national health assurance mission, which will provide universal healthcare and comprehensive health insurance for the poor. 

Universal health assurance is unavoidable in a country like India where 75 per cent of the healthcare expenses are borne by people.
Pradip Chatterjee

Pradip Chatterjee

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