Make Jammu Cancer Institute functional

Humanity is struggling hard with the deadly disease of cancer. So far the causes of the disease are neither known nor proper remedy. Cancer specialists are trying several methods but the most effective one is yet to be found. At the same time, the number of cancer patients is increasing year after year. In a phenomenon of non-availability of cancer treatment in the State, cancer patients have to be carried all the way to either Chandigarh or Delhi for treatment, which is a very expensive and cumbersome exercise for poor patients.
In view of these conditions, the State Government has been working hard for some years in the past to obtain facilities for treating this deadly disease within the State. After great persuasions, the Union Government announced in 2014-15 opening of two Cancer Institutes, one in SKIMS, Srinagar and the other in Government Medical College, Jammu. The Union Ministry approved Rs. 120 crore for each institute. Besides this, the Union Ministry of Health also approved setting up of three Cancer Care Centres, one each in Udhampur, Kishtwar and Kupwara at a cost of Rs 45 crore each. Accordingly, the State Government was directed to meet the pre-conditions as early as possible for starting the work on the Cancer Institutes as well as Cancer Care Centres.
Almost three years have gone by when the subject matter was taken in hand. During these three years, the State Health Department, despite holding several consultations with the Union Health and Family Planning Ministry senior officials, has not been able to complete the pre-requisites as laid down in the proposal of the Union Government. Not to speak of other things, even two posts of Lecturer Medical Oncologist and Surgical Oncologist, which were created in 2011-12, have yet not been filled and this has been pointed out by the Union Government. It remains to be said that while in GMC Jammu installing of Cancer Institute remains in doldrums, the same institute announced simultaneously for SKIMS in Srinagar has since been established. This gives rise to a serious question. It is not a matter of discrimination to which we are used to allude for all the bad things in Jammu. It is a matter strictly concerning the Health Department and GMC. It speaks lot about the inefficiency of concerned functionaries and total disregard for providing much needed facility to the people of Jammu. Anybody with even an iota of qualms of conscience would agree that all energy should have been focused on completing all the pre-requisites and the Cancer Institutes and Centres should have become functional by now as is the case with Srinagar.
Obviously, the Union Ministry of Health has not given formal sanction to the opening of the Cancer Institute in Jammu. How can it issue a certificate when the pre-requisites remain to be completed? The tragedy is that our political leaders want to win cheap popularity by doling out promises to the public which are seldom fulfilled or fulfilled in time. The question of setting up the Cancer Institute was raised in the Legislative Assembly and the Government repeated the rhetoric of being very close to opening the centres and institutes. The scheme and the funding for the scheme both are made available by the Union Government and our State Government is not able to come up with the fulfilment of pre-requisites even after three years of announcement. Nothing is more regrettable. It is a negative point in the delivery progress of the State Health and Medical Education Department.


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