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Cancer patient gets govt cheque, 33 years after death

Jul 14, 2007 08:23 PM IST India India

Bhopal: The Madhya Pradesh government has issued a cheque to pay for the treatment of an impoverished patient. The only hitch is that the patient died 33-years ago!

This cheque for Rs 1,40,000 was issued on May 22nd, 2006 to meet the medical expenses of a heart patient, Girija Soni. But the helping hand comes a little too late. Because Girija has been dead for the past 33 years. The angry family members of the patient have now returned the cheque to the government.

“We had applied for the financial assistance for her treatment over 30-years ago. She died and no money was ever given to us. Now after 33-years we receive this cheque. Is this some kind of a joke?” said Chandra Bihari Soni, Girija's Son.

Girij'as is not the only case. Ramrati too had approached the authorities for financial help when her son, Rakesh got admitted to Bhopal's Cancer Hospital. In her case, it took the government over six-months to provide the money. By that time Rakesh was dead.

“We spent a lot of money. I received the letter after his death. Of what is its use now? It’s like a cruel joke,” said Ramrati, Patient's Mother.

It was during Prakash Chand Sethi's tenure as Chief Minister, 33 years ago, that Madhya Pradesh government announced it would provide financial aid to needy patients. But successive governments have failed to speed up the procedure for disbursing the aid. Even state officials admit the problem must be addressed.

“It’s absurd to see medical aid reaching after 30-years. An enquiry should be conducted on this matter,” said Nagendra Singh, Home Minsiter, MP.

But the realization comes too late for the families of Girija and Rakesh. Because these cheques have only served to rub salt on wounds left by the loss of their loved ones.