Pics: Bathinda to Bikaner,aboard ‘cancer train’https://indianexpress.com/photos/picture-gallery-others/pics-bathinda-to-bikaner-aboard-cancer-train/

Pics: Bathinda to Bikaner,aboard ‘cancer train’

cancer

In the final days of Rajasthan's heated campaign,both the Congress and BJP focused on the Ashok Gehlot government's free medicine scheme. The embattled Gehlot sees it as his best weapon,and the upbeat BJP obviously thinks it too. Away from the politics of it,those who welcome it whole-heartedly are people of neighbouring states,who are lining up at Rajasthan's hospitals.
Four year old Ramesh fought cancer is seen sleeping at Acharya Tulsi Regional Cancer Treatment and Research Centre,Bikaner. (IE Photo: Ravi Kanojia)

leukaemia

Discovering she had leukaemia barely a few months after she lost her husband to a road accident,Jaspreet says she has to survive this. Her 12-year-old son waits for her at home,while she is on her way to Bikaner for the seventh time. "First we thought it was the bereavement that took away her strength,but when we took her to Ludhiana for tests,it turned out to be cancer," says brother Gurmail.
Cancer patient Jaspreet Kaur (C) from Mansa,with her brother Gurmail Singh rush to board in cancer train for her treatment in Bikaner,at Bathinda railway station. (IE Photo: Ravi Kanojia)

Cancer

Cancer patients and their attendants waiting at a doctor residence for private consultation at 5.30 in the morning in Bikaner. (IE Photo: Ravi Kanojia)

Bikaner

At least 40 cancer patients from Punjab arrive at Bikaner everyday for treatment.
Cancer patients and their attendants lying outside the Acharya Tulsi Regional Cancer Treatment and Research Centre in Bikaner. (IE Photo: Ravi Kanojia)

Rajasthan

Detailed profiles of outstation patients to Rajasthan are kept only at the cancer institute in Bikaner. The total number of patients this year to the centre has already touched 60,000. Of this,approximately 18,000 are registered from Punjab and Haryana. That's a 50 per cent jump in the patients from the two states to this centre from last year.
Cancer patients at Acharya Tulsi Regional Cancer Treatment and Research Centre in Bikaner. (IE Photo: Ravi Kanojia)

Acharya Tulsi

Statistics show that the total number of new cancer patients in 2011 was 5,787 at the centre. This went up to 6,983 in 2012. This year,till September,5,685 new patients had registered themselves at the facility. Dr Sharma believes the figure will touch 7,500 by the end of the year.
Chemotherapy in progress to a cancer patient at Acharya Tulsi Regional Cancer Treatment and Research Centre in Bikaner. (IE Photo: Ravi Kanojia)

cancer

Among the facilities available at the centre are Gamma camera,CT scan,sonography,X-ray,MRI,three machines for cobalt therapy,a linear accelerator,brachy therapy.
Cancer patients at Acharya Tulsi Regional Cancer Treatment and Research Centre in Bikaner. (IE Photo: Ravi Kanojia)

Acharya Tulsi

The Rajasthan Medical Services Corporation (RMSC),formed to implement the scheme and steer the state towards a Right to Health,cites studies to point out that expenditure on medicines accounts for about 50 to 80 per cent of the total cost of treatment in India.
Geeta Devi from Suratgarh,Rajasthan sits next to her son Rahul (L),who is fighting cancer at Acharya Tulsi Regional Cancer Treatment and Research Centre in Bikaner. (IE Photo: Ravi Kanojia)

Bikaner

"Exactly a year ago,we first boarded this train to go to Bikaner. When I tested positive for breast cancer,it was like the world had come crashing. My mother had it too,but when it happens to you,you are in denial for days. It is not any other disease,it is cancer," says Pushpinder,her eyes a weary blank.
Cancer patient Pushpinder Kaur with her son Pawanjot Singh from Punjab have dinner in a cancer train,on their way to Bikaner. (IE Photo: Ravi Kanojia)

cancer

In its election manifesto,the BJP has promised to "review the free medicine scheme" and "make qualitative changes for better implementation". While the popularity of the scheme has never been in doubt,the charge of poor implementation has been hitting home.
Attendants of cancer patients get free medicines at the Acharya Tulsi Regional Cancer Treatment and Research Centre in Bikaner. (IE Photo: Ravi Kanojia)