Ministers, legislators withdraw millions from exchequer as medical claims, reveals RTI

Cabinet Minister With Declared Assets Worth Rs 11 Cr Claimed Even Rs 2000 Reimbursement; Another Legislator With Rs 4.47 Cr Assets Claimed Medical Bills More Than 80 Times

YOGESH SAGOTRA
Jammu, Publish Date: Dec 5 2017 1:08AM | Updated Date: Dec 5 2017 1:08AM
Ministers, legislators withdraw millions from exchequer as medical claims, reveals RTI

The J&K government claims to have state of the art health facilities and also bagged “State of States Award” in Health sector by a Private TV Group but political bigwigs including incumbent and former ministers and legislators have withdrawn millions of rupees from state exchequer as medical reimbursement of treatment in private hospitals.

Surprisingly even for minor health problems like dental issues, fatty liver, diabetes and hearing aid these legislators preferred private healthcare institutions outside the state like Ganga Ram, Apollo, Batra and others instead of availing the treatment in the State, thereby causing loss to state exchequer.

These revelations have been made through a Right to Information application filed by convener Sangarsh RTI Movement, Balvinder Singh.

The RTI reveals that a legislator, who has also remained finance minister in the state, claimed medical bills 80 times ranging from Rs. 1000 to 58000. He withdrew a total amount of Rs 7, 90,927 from state treasury.

Singh claimed that the said legislator shockingly owns declared assets of Rs 4.47 crores.

He further said that a serving cabinet minister despite having declared assets worth 11.00 crore withdraw even Rs. 2000 bills from state government.

Singh asked that if state of the art health care facilities are available in the state, as claimed by the state government, then why these legislators are referred by the directors of health in Kashmir and Jammu division for treatment outside the state even for minor ailments and especially in the private elite hospitals and also recommend them air travel along with attendant.

Quoting the rules vide SRO-468, which makes provision for getting medical treatment outside the state only in cases where the same treatment is not available in the state, the RTI revealed that in 99 percent cases, director Health Services Srinagar/Jammu have even referred the treatment outside the state when it was available in the State and thereby caused huge loss to the state exchequer.

Singh said not only legislators, government allows even their families to go on medical tourism.

Under these rules even the dependent family members are entitled for medical reimbursement and medical treatment outside the state at state expenses.

Moreover under these rules, there is also a provision for release of 75% of the assessed expenditure as advance to the ailing MLA/MLCs or to their family members.