Jhajjar, September 14
The Right to Information (RTI) Act has helped expose alleged large-scale embezzlement at the community health centre at Bahadurgarh in the district.
Information gathered from the records of the centre under the Act reveals that several medical officers, who collected various kinds of fees from patients, did not deposit the same with the cashier and an amount running into thousands of rupees remained outstanding against them.
Following the filing of an application seeking details of the pending fees against medical officers, especially medical legal report (MLR) fee, nearly 20 doctors who were either posted here or had served here during the past six years were “forced” to part with thousands of rupees, which they had allegedly pocketed after charging from patients.
The senior medical officer (SMO), Dr N.K. Jain, has also recommended departmental action against certain medical officers.
However, documents provided by the SMO, who also serves as PIO to the applicant, Naresh Joon, reveal that many medical officers rushed to clear their dues after Joon filed the petition.
Admitting irregularities, the SMO said he had written to the chief medical officer at Jhajjar for appropriate action in this regard as the fees was still pending against some doctors.
As per the documents, two medical officers deposited Rs 5,500 on December 12, 2006, which was charged from patients during their tenure from March, 2003, to November, 2006. On January 15, 2007, seven doctors deposited Rs 16,000 pending against them.
Dr Anil Rathi deposited Rs 2,200 (fee of 22 MLRs) while he had issued 60 MLRs from January, 2004, to November, 2006. Moreover, the hospital authorities claimed that his record for the previous two years were missing.
Similarly, on February 10, Rs 28,000 was deposited by 10 doctors which had been pending against them since 1998. Dr Subh Jyoti Prakash deposited Rs 7,500, which he had charged from patients from 1998 to 2006. Five other doctors cleared an amount of Rs 11,000.
Joon had applied for this information on December 5, 2006. After dithering for months, the PIO had asked him to cough up about Rs 5 lakh as fee. Joon, however, moved the SIC, which ordered the PIO to furnish all information within 15 days and also exempted him from paying any fee.
Alleging that the irregularities were of a serious nature, Joon has demanded a probe into these. “Keeping government money with themselves for as long as five years amounts to embezzlement. If the health authorities fail to act in this case, I will move court,” he stated.
The Tribune, Chandigarh, India - Haryana Plus