Protest in Uttarakhand against Increased Health Care Fees

CPIML organized a protest and effigy burning of the State government in Haldwani on 2 January against the raising of health care and medical rates by the BJP government in Uttarakhand. CPIML said that this exorbitant hike in health care rates is blatantly anti-poor.

CPIML State Secretary Raja Bahuguna said that the BJP government in Uttarakhand headed by Trivendra Rawat is bent on completely destroying the concept of public health in the State. He said that it will be extremely difficult now for the poor to avail themselves of health care facilities, with privatization of health facilities, converting of hospitals into PPP mode by the government, and huge hikes in fees ranging from registration fee to all medical care fees. He further said that the first responsibility of the government was to have improved the condition of hospitals, appointed specialist doctors in every hospital, and provided free consultation for all treatment, but in Uttarakhand the government feels no responsibility towards the people; this will be opposed strongly by the people of Uttarakhand.

Comrade Raja Bahuguna said that the government has taken a decision to increase health care rates by 10% every year, which is totally unacceptable. Health care should be fully free in a State which has come into existence through struggle. Education and health should be the responsibility of the State; this is a basic right of the people. He also demanded that in order to increase health care facilities in the State, the medical colleges at Haldwani and Srinagar should be developed on the lines of AIIMS Delhi.

CPIML Nainital Secretary Kailash Pandey said that it is a matter of great shame that the BJP government in Uttarakhand has rung in the New Year with this exorbitant hike in health care fees. This is a step which forces the poor to opt for unaffordable expensive health care. This government is privatizing and ‘NGO-izing’ the health sector and is now hell bent on putting the little remaining government health facilities out of reach of the poor. This step by the Trivendra Rawat government is another step towards privatization of government health facilities. As the BJP government has presented the people of Uttarakhand with a New Year gift of increased health care rates, the CPIML begins the New Year by opposing this anti-people step. We demand that the government revoke this hike in health care fees with immediate effect, failing which we will organize a long and strong struggle against the government to save public health care.

The effigy burning program was attended by a large number of people including senior leader Bahadur Singh Jangi, Lalit Matiyali, Pushkar Dubadiya, Mohan Lal Arya, Harish Chandra Bhandari, Mohan Singh, Rajni Joshi (Progressive Women’s Unity Center), Pushpa Kudai (Progressive Bhojanmata Sangathan), Hema Tiwari and others.