23 Aug 2019  |   06:39am IST

Parrikar’s treatment cost STATE a WHOPPING Rs 5.72 crore

D’Souza’s treatment in US and India cost Rs 2.49cr and Madkaikar’s stroke surgery bill was Rs 1.05cr; Since 2012, State has spent Rs 10.30cr on medical treatment of MLAs and their families


PANJIM: At a time when the Goenkars, including senior citizens, are made to wait in queues for hours to get cards under the Deen Dayal Swasthya Seva Yojana (DDSSY) renewed so as to avail of health insurance, the government spends crores of rupees on the health of mantris and aamdars (ministers and MLAs) of the State.

Herald, based on data sourced under RTI, brings to you yet another exposé on how the government is splurging money for the medical treatment of ministers and MLAs with no upper limit.

Since 2012, when the BJP came to power, the State has spent Rs 10.30cr on the treatment of MLAs, of which Rs 5.72 cr was spent on the treatment of former chief minister Manohar Parrikar, who died in March this year of pancreatic cancer.

Parrikar was treated at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Research Centre in New York, USA, where the bills came to Rs 1.58 cr and 2.86 cr. Parrikar’s brief treatment at Lilavati Hospital in Mumbai also cost Rs 7,83,136, whereas his AIIMS stay cost Rs 1,43,926.

Besides, the air ambulances in which Parrikar was taken to Delhi and Mumbai cost the State exchequer Rs 57,63,499. His air tickets bill to New York, Mumbai and Delhi and vice-versa, alongwith his son and associates, has accounted for Rs 35,71,958.

Interestingly, when Parrikar was being treated at his private residence in Dona Paula, doctors from All India Institute of Medical Sciences visited him for chemotherapy procedure. The bills of the air travel of these doctors amounted to Rs 6,33,205.

Apart from Parrikar, the medical bills of the former deputy chief minister Francis D’Souza and former power minister Pandurang Madkaikar also crossed the Rs 1cr mark.

D’Souza, who lost the battle with cancer, claimed Rs 2.48cr in the form of medical reimbursements from the State Legislative Assembly. D’Souza, who was highly diabetic, was also treated in the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Research Centre in New York. His bill of treatment in the US was Rs 1.84 cr.

D’Souza’s other bills included Lilavati Hospital, Mumbai (24,64,646), Nanavati Hospital, Mumbai (Rs 3,38,545) and Healthway Hospital, Old Goa (Rs 11,61,330). The State has also paid for D’Souza’s daughter’s treatment in Galaxy Hospital in Mapusa quite a few times.

Former power minister Pandurang Madkaikar was also in the list of medical reimbursements having claimed Rs 1.05cr for his medical treatment.

Madkaikar had suffered a brain stroke while he was in a Mumbai hotel. He was rushed to Mumbai’s Kolkilaben Hospital, wherein he underwent brain surgery. His bill for surgery and treatment at the hospital came to Rs 66,91,125.

Overall, the State, which is reeling under financial duress due to the mining ban and slowdown in the tourism sector, has spent a whopping Rs 10.3cr on its MLAs’ treatment in India and abroad.

Interestingly, the Karnataka legislature has issued an order asking the State Assembly secretariat to ask MLAs to avail medical facilities only in government hospitals. The bills of treatment availed at private hospitals will not be approved. The move aims to cut down on increasing medical bills of elected politicians.

When Herald asked whether there is any upper limit for MLAs as in the case of common man, who gets up to Rs 4.5 lakh under the DDSSY scheme, a legislature official said there was no such limit. “There’s no limit on medical expenses of MLAs. Whenever treatment exceeds the normal range of expenses, the bills are cleared by the Speaker,” an official said on condition of anonymity.


Iddhar Udhar