Private firm's goof-up claims infant's life

Girl denied treatment for heart problem

A one-year-old girl had to pay with her life for a goof-up committed by the private company to which the digitisation of the cards under the public distribution system had been outsourced. 

Tanuja Siddappa Rotti from Chilmur village in Ramdurg taluk of the district had a heart ailment and had been admitted to the KLES Dr Prabhakar Kore Hospital in the city a month ago. She was eligible for a cardiac surgery under the Vajpayee Argoyashree Scheme (VAS) as her family possessed a below poverty line (BPL) card. They also had an income certificate issued by the authorities, a letter from the tahsildar and the VAS card.

However, the hospital authorities and officials of the scheme found that the Rotti family’s card had been erroneously converted in the records from a BPL card to APL (above poverty line) card by the company - Comet. Thus, the girl was denied the treatment benefits. 

VAS co-ordinator Dr V D Dange said the surgery was not permitted as APL card holders did not come under VAS. Soon, the family apprised Deputy Commissioner V Anbukumar of the situation. He gave them a letter asking the authorities to consider the case as special and provide Tanuja the required treatment.

A communication was also made to the Arogya Mitra authorities - which runs VAS - in this regard, but it was too late by the time the bureaucratic hurdles could be cleared. The girl died late on Monday. 

Channabasappa Kodli, deputy director in the Food and Civil Supplies Department, admitted that Comet had committed errors and its data could not be relied upon. He said the Arogya Mitra authorities had been asked not to consider the data prepared by Comet and instead rely on the income and other certificates issued by the tahsildar.

Kodli said the department was in the process of rectifying the errors and updating the data.

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