Hamro Party President Bhaichung Bhutia drew attention to the dire state of the healthcare sector in rural Sikkim after his month-long Sikkim Ekta Diwas. In the process, he also criticized the absence of Health Minister MK Sharma and labeled Sikkim Krantikari Morcha’s flagship Garib Jan Kalyan Prakostha a scam. Bhutia expressed his disappointment with the State government’s decision to spend Rs. 600 crore on a hospital in Namchi rather than investing in existing healthcare infrastructure across different parts of the State.
Addressing a press conference on May 9, Bhutia stated, “Even in the past, we urged the State government to invest in existing hospital infrastructures in different parts of the State. But they constructed a Rs. 600 Crore worth hospital in Namchi boasting about the number of beds. Can we not give better healthcare in Sikkim? They are doing Rs. 500 crore projects in order to take percentage commission from the investment. They are not focused on rural infrastructure. Beds don’t cure patients, doctors, equipment, and medicine save patients. We see shortcomings in the health sector in rural parts of the State.”
Furthermore, he suggested that the government’s focus was more on taking a percentage commission from investments than on rural infrastructure. Bhutia emphasized that doctors, equipment, and medicine, not beds, are the key to saving patients.
Additionally, Bhutia questioned the absence of Health Minister MK Sharma after his resignation in February and alleged that the government tried to launch a suspicious scheme called Su Swastha Yojana for government employees.
“Merely months into government, Health Minister MK Sharma was beaten up by SKM supporters. Thereafter, the health minister never got support from the government. The government tried to come up with a suspicious scheme called Su Swastha Yojana for government employees. The same was scrapped before initiating, largely because MK Sharma opposed the scheme for the existence of brokers. The negotiation for the hospitals on behalf of the patients were to be done by brokers. When percentage commission and providing discounts for patients didn’t happen, they scrapped the project altogether,” Bhutia said.
According to Bhutia, the scheme was scrapped because MK Sharma opposed it due to the involvement of brokers.
Bhutia also criticized SKM’s Garib Jan Kalyan Prakostha, led by Chief Minister Prem Singh Golay’s son Prabhakar Golay, which he claimed was a scam.
“Garib Kalyan Prakostha is also a scam wherein patients are given Rs. 2 lakhs, while SKM supporters get Rs. 5 lakhs. But when we take that amount on account of a cancer patient, they spent Rs.50-60,000, that is spent merely on check-up in different hospitals across the country. If an operation is needed, then the cost will shoot above Rs. 2 lakhs. Patients plan Delhi tour to meet CM there, instead doctors should be here. We have to beg Chief Minister for medical assistance and the cost involved,” Bhutia said.
Furthermore, Bhutia also stated that the scheme provided more money to SKM supporters than to regular patients. He argued that experienced health professionals or independent senior bureaucrats should lead the scheme rather than the Chief Minister’s son, who has no experience in the healthcare sector.
He claimed that there was a big flaw in the scheme, as most people preferred to seek treatment outside the State due to the doctors being busy conducting health camps rather than treating patients in hospitals.
“Garib Jan Kalyan Prakostha needs experienced health professional or senior bureaucrats who is independent to lead the scheme. Putting the Chief Minister’s son there is not correct. He has no idea, what has he done in health sector? He is being misused. They conduct health camp instead of bringing patients to hospitals. When patients visit hospitals, doctors are busy in health camp. There is big flaw hence most people are opting to go outside of the State for treatment” Said Bhutia