It was set up with the express motive of providing financial assistance to the cancer patients. However,those managing the Chief Minister Cancer Relief Fund in Punjab believe that a cancer patient can make do even if the money is provided to him as and when the government deems it fit.
The treatment of cancer patient lasts for long. So,I dont think it is any problem with the patients, Dr Rakesh Gupta,co-ordinator of the project said.
He was replying to a query on whether the relief fund is meant for treatment only from the day or after it has been sanctioned.
As per the state governments guidelines,a patient will be given money for the treatment after the date of sanction and not during the time period during which case was sent for approval.
Earlier,while setting up the fund last year,the government has said that under the scheme cancer patients will be entitled to seek financial help of Rs 150,000 for treatment of the disease.
Health and Family Welfare Minister Satpal Gosain had then said that all requests for aid would be scrutinised by a committee consisting of the Chief Minister,Health Minister and Principal Secretary (Health). In the case of emergency the fund would be directly disbursed after obtaining the sanction from Chief Minister,he had said.
However,a number of cancer patients who have been sending applications to the state government seeking relief money face rejection.
In Mansa alone,out of the total 198 cases sent to state government for approval,116 were sent back with objections. Out of the 116,only 25 came back after completing the required formalities,while there is no trace of the others.
Dr Davinder Singh Sandhu,chairman of Cancer Council of India,said,I run a cancer hospital in Kitchlu Nagar and out of 100 cases referred by me,grant has been sanction by the government in only 12 cases. The procedure to grant sanction is very lengthy and a patient cannot be denied treatment till then. But it is really strange that patients are not given money for the time period during which his ppplication is pending for approval.
However,Dr Surinderpal Sureela,the Mansa civil surgeon has a completely different story to tell.. We have cleared all the files from our office and now the cheques have to be sent to the respective hospitals where the treatment of patients has been referred. Sureela said.
As per the guidelines,the applicant needs to apply with an estimate of expenditure to be incurred on the treatment. After sanction,money is transferred directly to the hospital by cheque or draft.
Dr Rakesh Gupta,co-ordinator of the project,while confirming that relief fund is for treatment only after the fund has been sanctioned,said that more than 1900 cases had come before the government and grant has been sent in about 1,600 cases.
However,he did not mention the number of applications that were rejected.