Former Indian footballer and Hamro Sikkim Party president Bhaichung Bhutia completed his month-long Sikkim Ekta Diwas across Sikkim, where he highlighted the dismal state of the health sector in rural areas of the state. Bhutia pointed out the absence of Health Minister MK Sharma and criticized the ruling Sikkim Krantikari Morcha's (SKM) flagship Garib Jan Kalyan Prakoshtha, terming it a scam.
At a press conference on May 9, Bhutia stated that the state government should invest in existing hospital infrastructure in different parts of the state instead of constructing expensive hospitals such as the Rs. 600 crore hospital in Namchi. He accused the government of not focusing on rural infrastructure and suggested that investing in doctors, equipment, and medicine is more important than merely increasing the number of beds.
Bhutia also questioned the absence of Health Minister MK Sharma, who was beaten up by SKM supporters and did not receive support from the government. He accused the government of trying to implement a suspicious scheme called Su Swastha Yojana for government employees, which was scrapped because Sharma opposed it for the existence of brokers.
Furthermore, Bhutia slammed SKM's Garib Jan Kalyan Prakoshtha led by Chief Minister Prem Singh Golay's son Prabhakar Golay, calling it a scam. He criticized the government's practice of providing SKM supporters with Rs. 5 lakhs, while other patients receive only Rs. 2 lakhs. Bhutia argued that the amount given by the government is not enough to cover the cost of treatment, especially in the case of cancer patients, who often have to spend over Rs. 50,000 on check-ups alone.
Bhutia suggested that the Garib Jan Kalyan Prakoshtha should be led by experienced health professionals or senior bureaucrats, who are independent and not affiliated with the ruling party. He questioned why the Chief Minister's son was leading the scheme, stating that he has no experience in the health sector and is being misused. Bhutia also criticized the government's practice of conducting health camps instead of bringing patients to hospitals, resulting in doctors being too busy to provide proper treatment.
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