Vajpayee Arogya Shree card holders in the lurch

Vajpayee Arogya Shree card holders in the lurch

When Mohammed Ilyas, a cancer patient from Shivajinagar, recently visited a private hospital for treatment flashing his Vajpayee Arogya Shree card, little did he know that the scheme did not exist.

The hospital denied him treatment saying the card was invalid.

The same was the case with Zaibunnisa, a heart patient. In fact, the 32,000 urban poor families to whom the cards were issued in the last couple of months are in the same situation.

However, what’s appalling is that the Palike has so far spent Rs 1.5 crore, including Rs 50 lakh given to a software company, to enrol BPL families for a non-existing scheme.

At a press conference on Tuesday, leader of the Opposition in the BBMP Council, M K Gunashekar,accused the ruling BJP of using the health insurance scheme “only for publicity.”

Gunashekar said the scheme was launched by the BBMP on Februay 25, 2010, during the administrator’s rule. Later, when the Council was formed, the scheme surfaced again as Pandit Deen Dayal Suvarna Arogya Suraksha Yojane and the BJP earmarked Rs 20 crore for it. The scheme’s name was changed again and dedicated to former prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee in 2011-12.

Only change of names

“Except for changing names, the BJP has done little to implement the health scheme. In the last two years, not a single person has benefited from it,” alleged Gunashekar.
He went on to charge that the Palike had paid Rs 50 lakh to a company to develop software for enrolling beneficiaries and Rs one crore for setting up 27 centres across the City to issue health insurance cards to 32,000 urban poor families.

Gunashekar said there was some confusion at the government level over implementing the project and this had led Palike Commissioner M K Shankarlinge Gowda to ‘temporarily’ put the project on hold. He accused Gowda and the ruling party of being insensitive to the problems of the poor.

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