Sunday, July 1, 2012

ECHS is primed to work for Senior Officers and not for Veterans who are human beings

To: Maj Gen Raviraj Oberoi
Chairman ECHS and Oversight Committee For Poly Clinics
New Delhi
Dear General Raviraj,
I write to you about two recent cases that have been brought to my notice about the contemptuous treatment meted out to the Veterans by the staff of these ECHS Poly Clinics. The first one is from SURAT, Gujarat and the second is from Mandi Himachal Pradesh. Hony Capt Skatter Singh(Mob : 09978885445/09879999347) called from SURAT,Gujarat today and the other one was sent to me by our associates for help. I was about to write to the Chiefs when I got the information about your activities. I thought it better to write to you as I felt that that would serve dual purpose. One of getting it sorted out faster and two awareness for you about the difficulties being faced by the Veterans on account of this basically flawed scheme.
Hony Capt Skatter Singh has settled at SURAT in Gujarat since 2009 from Nagpur, Maharashtra. He has changed ECHS his own card (Reg No.-PN0075727) and that of his wife from Nagpur to Vadodara ECHS. His wife, Jasbir Kaur got major heart attack on 23rd June, 2012 afternoon. There being no poly clinic there at SURAT, he took his wife under trying circumstances to a private Hospital named CARE Hospital–The Heart Institute where they were able to save her life. She is still in ICCU and in recovering condition. He has been under serious pressure with the thought of having to pay the mounting medical bill in advance. As on date, he has already paid 4.5 lakhs for treatment. As his wife is still in ICCU, the medical bill will touch approximately 7 to 8 lakhs before her discharge from the Hospital.
Hony Capt Skatter Singh has therefore been in touch with Col Joshi, mob 09898907508, OIC of Poly Clinic at Baroda for help since 23rd June’2012. All that he needs from Col Joshi is an assurance to the Hospital that the bill will be paid by them. Instead of helping him, he is referring him to the Secretary ZSB Surat who has no authority to give an assurance on behalf of ECHS. He also wants Hony Capt Skatter Singh to first pay the bill and then claim it. The bill will go up to Rs. 7 to 8 lakhs, which the JCO does not have.
This is one case that has come up to me. There are many such cases that I do not have because people can not reach me. While you suggest means to overcome such problems in future, I appeal to you to kindly sort this one out now which I am sure you easily can with the authority vested in you I would be grateful.
This is the Press Release of the beleaguered Veterans that appeared in the news papers and also on a Veterans blog sent to me by them. By this Scheme all Veterans of lower ranks that includes officers, even after retirement are condemned to suffering from the hiearchial set up of the Armed Forces. This would have been overcome by the Medicare Policy Scheme and all Veterans would have got proper treatment and respect not because of being a senior officer but because he is a human being in distress. If there has been a default on the part of he Insurance company they would have been sorted out by the District level Committees itself rather than wait for an OSC to come from AHQ.
ECHS Polyclinics, Mandi: June 17, 2012
Apart from complaining of step-motherly treatment at all levels, the Honorary Commissioned Officers’ Welfare Association (HCOWA), Baldwara, has accused the ECHS polyclinics at Mandi and Sarkaghat of ignoring treatment of ex-servicemen in ECHS polyclinics. Talking to The Tribune on the sidelines of a meeting of the HCOWA held at Baldwara, Capt Jagdish Chand Verma, president of the association, said: “Honorary officers are being discriminated at all levels. We have no option other than moving a petition at the the Army Fast Track Court Bench in Chandigarh against discrimination. ”He said the government had no policy for honorary officers’ legitimate entitlements under government schemes.He said the staff posted at ECHS polyclinics in Sarkaghat and Mandi behaved in a high-handed manner, making even ailing ex-servicemen go from place to place. He charged the ECHS polyclinic staff at Mandi and Sarkaghat with harassing ex-servicemen. He cited the example of Baldwara ex-serviceman Sunder Singh (90) who travelled a distance of 70 km on May 23, 2012 get treatment at the Mandi polyclinic for severe pain in his abdomen. He was not attended to at Mandi and directed to Sarkaghat. But the Sarkaghat polyclinic too failed to treat him. As his pain persisted, he travelled back and got treatment at a private hospital where he was operated upon. Verma said the association had taken this matter with the Army Headquarters. He added that the association supported the demand for “one rank, one pension”.“We will step up stir unless all demands are not met with before the Assembly election in the state, members added. The state Sainik Welfare Board and the ECHS authorities claimed that they were not aware of the issues raised by the association.
I am very pleased to state that around Metros and some major cities where a large number of senior officers are settled the Poly Clinics are serving very admirably. This is so becaause of their influence they have got all problems sorted out. Such clinics however serve less than 10% of the Veterans. Unfortunately whenever an exercise like yours is done the opinions of such senior officers are asked and they praise it to the hilt and glory and every body thinks it is all hunky dory. Nobody has the time and energy to go to rural areas and find out the problems. I am sure that you would cater for this infirmity while writing your report and take appropriate measures in recommending the right solution to end this misery of the old and infirm Veterans who desperately need relief and succor. MY EXPERIENCE OF THIRTY YEARS SAYS, THE MEDICARE POLICY SCHEME IS THE ONLY ANSWER AND SOONER WE BRING IT IN THE BETTER. FOR THOSE WHO ARE SATISFIED WITH THE PRESENT SET UP CAN BE GIVEN THE OPTION TO CONTINUE WITH THE PRESENT SCHEME. I WOULD LOVE TO MAKE A PERSONAL APPEARANCE TO LAY THREADBARE THE WOES OF THE VETERANS TO THE OVERSIGH COMMITTEE IF THEY SO DESIRE.
Yours Sincerely
Lt Col Inderjit Singh
Comment: Kudos to Col Inderjit. He has hit the ECHS malady on its head. ECHS is a total failure for the vast majority of the Veterans. I have seen the whole Polyclinic is geared up for treatment of retired general's from the time of the receipt of a phone call to the ECHS; Ambulance despatched, reception arranged and red carpet treatment meted out. whereas the rest of the Veterans look on with wonderment and keep waiting for their painful turn. This happens in all Polyclinics. The Senior Officer syndrone is very much prevalent and Crores of Rupees (almost 50% budget) are spent only on less than 2% Senior Officers. The older traditional system since the British times which have proved more effective than what ECHS today embodies, that is, the treatment of Veterans by the Military Hospital. We need to revert to the old system and all ECHS and manpower should be placed under the administrative, financial and technical control solely with the MH. The Station HQs presently controlling the Polyclinics is a miserable disaster and total failure- as it only breeds sychopancy- corruption in recruitment of civilians and provisioning of Medical Stores and Empanellment of Civil and Private Hospitals where bribes influence the outcome. The circuitious rules and combersome procedures presently enacted are ideal for corrupt to breed and operate incognito and very difficult to identify the culprits who are out there to cheat the system at the expense of veterans. This system is akin to all Military scams like Adarsh, BEML Tatra Trucks, Sukhna and a host of others scams like them...I hope and pray that the Polyclinic Oversight Committee does not lose sight of the basic flaws of ECHS!

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