20,000 beneficiaries face uncertainty
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, September 25
Over 20,000 beneficiaries of the Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS) in the region could be deprived of health care facilities until and unless either the Union Health Ministry takes urgent steps to find an alternative place to shift its lone dispensary in Sector 45 or the UT administration shelves its plan to evict them from there.
The CGHS dispensary, the only one in the northern region (up Delhi), which caters to Central Government employees and retired personnel working or settled in Chandigarh, Haryana, Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir, faces eviction notice from the Administration and is presently functioning on an extended deadline. The initial deadline expired in June and the Administration has given six additional months to the CGHS to make alternative arrangements.
However, nothing much has been done till date and if the things continue at the same pace and the Administration doesn’t extend the deadline, the CGHS beneficiaries could be heading for trouble, vis-a-vis their health care.
Confirming the Administration’s move, SC Anand, Additional Director, CGHS, Chandigarh, said, the UT administration had served an eviction notice for June, but after the intervention of some members of the coordination committee of the Central Government Pensioners Association, the deadline was extended till December.
He said the building where the dispensary was located was taken on rent from the Administration in 2002.
Anand said though they had identified some alternative sites for shifting the dispensary, the approval was yet to come from the Administration. “If any of the given sites is approved in time, the work can be started and the deadline met,” he said. Else they would face the dilemma of what to do post-December, he added.
On the other hand, UT health officials say they need the site for converting it into standalone “labour rooms” for encouraging institutional deliveries in and around Sector 45. Though the reason may sound plausible, a senior official could not explain why this particular site was required when the Administration has many alternatives with it.
Central Government employees and pensioners are obviously concerned about these developments and feel that rather than just indulging in “babugiri” of issuing notices, the Administration should offer alternatives. “If the lone wellness centre is closed, the elderly pensioners will be at loss,” said one of the members of the pensioners’ committee.
Interestingly, most of the Central Government pensioners registered at the CGHS dispensary in Sector 45 are from Chandigarh and are not covered by any other health care scheme. In case the dispensary goes non-functional, they will be deprived of medical facilities, maintains another member of the coordination committee.