Monday, August 27, 2001, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Hepatitis-B case: CM orders probe
Our Correspondent

Sangat Mandi (Bathinda), Aug 26
Punjab Chief Minister, Parkash Singh Badal ordered a high-level inquiry into the alleged sale of Hepatitis-B vaccine vials by the Health officials at Chauke village today.

Mr Badal while talking to reporters said that he came to know about the incident only after reading the newspapers today morning. He expressed concern over the incident in which even Health officials were involved in the sale of vaccine vials.

The villagers of Chauke were angry over the incident and staged a dharna and raised slogans against the district administration. Most of the residents of the village refused to got vaccinated on Friday and Saturday last when the news spread that water injections were being used instead of Hepatitis-B vaccine, by the Health authorities.

Mr Badal announced Rs 7 lakh grant at the bhog ceremony of Mr Balbir Singh, MLA, Nathana at Chak Fateh Singh Wala village in July this year and had ordered that if required medical teams from Ludhiana and Patiala might be called in to assist the district Health authorities.

Earlier the district authorities including the Deputy Commissioner, Mr R. Venkatratnam and Civil surgeon, Mr Bawa Ram Gupta admitted the spread of Hepatitis-B in Chauke village due to the recycling of disposable syringes, by unregistered medical practitioners and quacks in the village. The civil surgeon had claimed that the list of the quacks had been forwarded to the police authorities for action and that 19 quacks were arrested out of more than 100.

Officials of the Health Department of the city have been involved in several controversies like blood bank scam, in which one of the technicians of the hospital was allegedly found guilty of selling the blood testing kits and was later transferred. In another alleged “scam” the Red Cross Medical Shop, running from the premises of the civil hospital was raided by a team of experts and findings yet to be made public but the allegations include the sale of substandard medicines, running the shop without medical license and sale of physicians’ samples.

Dr Vineeta Gupta, general secretary, Insaff International and Mr Ved Parkash, member National Council of Peoples’ Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) condemned the incident and alleged that the scams were just the tip of the iceberg. Faith of people in the district Health authorities had been eroded, they alleged.

Dr Jatinder Kumar Jain, SSP said that a case under Sections 420, 467, 468 and 471 IPC had been registered in this connection and investigations were on.

Addressing a gathering of the Pakka Kalan Assembly constituency here, Mr Badal said land worth Rs 82 crore would be purchased in various villages and allotted to persons belonging to Scheduled Castes and other weaker sections.Back

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