GUWAHATI, Oct 27 � A section of employees of the Dr B Borooah Cancer Institute (BBCI), Guwahati, has moved the Prime Minister and the Union Health Minister alleging anomalies in the management of the institute and calling for a probe.
The allegations levelled by the employees relate to the �unclear� status of the BBCI, absence of service rules, exorbitant charges from patients, financial irregularities and anomalies concerning the appointment and extension of services of the present Director.
The Director Dr AC Kataki, meanwhile, termed the charges as baseless and said he has sent clarifications to the Government of India as was sought.
The employees alleged that the BBCI�s status was not clear even though it was funded by the Department of Atomic Energy, the North Eastern Council, Government of Assam and the Government of India, and that due to the absence of service rules, the institute was being run as per whims of the Director.
Dr Kataki said the institute has its own service rules that were adopted by the Board of Directors in 2008. On the allegation that many of the employees were appointed on contractual basis and had been working for years, he said that after adoption of the service rules, 73 posts were created by the management council on September 13, 2008 and 24 grade-I posts were created by the BoD at its meeting held on December 11, 2009 and �almost all the employees who were working on contractual basis for many years were regularized as per established procedure of recruitment.�
At present, the BBCI has only 34 contractual employees who are working in various capacities for a short period.
The employees further alleged that patients were being charged exorbitantly as in a private hospital and that only a few patients got free treatment despite huge government funding to the BBCI. According to Dr Kataki, the hospital charges are different for three categories of patients � general, private and reimburse group � and that the charges are highly subsidized for general category of patients.
�Charges are fixed in such a way that these are even lower than those of Tata Memorial Hospital, which is funded by the Department of Atomic Energy, Govt of India. An internal committee of doctors and officers prepared the hospital tariff for various diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. The recommendation of the internal committee was placed in the finance committee for consideration,� he said, adding that the BBCI provided free treatment to 599 patients from April 1, 2011 to March 31, 2014 under its own scheme and to 2,208 patients during the same period under the scheme of the Health Minister�s Cancer Patient Fund of the Govt of India. In addition, patients also get free treatment under RSBY, RAN Scheme.
On the allegation of misutilisation of funds provided by NEC, Department of Atomic Energy and the Government of Assam, Dr Kataki said that there was no pending utilisation certificate for fund released by the NEC and the Department of Atomic Energy as on October 10, 2014. �An amount of Rs 792.17 lakh received from the Government of Assam has been spent to meet recurring expenditure and utilisation certificate of the entire amount was submitted on October 13, 2014.
�Therefore, the question of not properly utilising the grants-in-aid released by funding agencies is totally baseless. It is also to be mentioned that all expenditure above Rs 1 lakh up to a ceiling of Rs 25 lakh is approved by the finance committee and above Rs 25 lakh is approved by the management council as per the provisions of the tripartite agreement involving the NEC, Department of Atomic Energy and the Govt of Assam,� he said.
On the demand for a CAG probe, Dr Kataki said the audit of accounts of the BBCI were regularly being conducted by an audit team from CAG, Department of Atomic Energy, and Director of Audit (Local Fund), Govt of Assam in addition to the institute�s statutory and internal audit.
On the allegations concerning age and experience in his appointment, Dr Kataki said that the six-member selection committee recommended only him out of a list of nine candidates, which was duly approved by the Chairman of the Board of Directors of BBCI.
On the demand for bringing the BBCI under the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Dr Kataki said sincere attempts were made by the BBCI on recommendation of the BoD for transfer of the institute to the MoH&FW but the Ministry �communicated three times expressing its inability to take over BBCI.�
Dr Kataki said a proposal to transfer BBCI to the Department of Atomic Energy was under active consideration for developing it into a Centre of Excellence for cancer treatment, education and research.
�BBCI at present has 402 employees. It is a fact that 21 employees have submitted a representation to the Health Minister of India, which was signed by only one employee,� Dr Kataki said.