Long wait, confusion over BPL cards on day one of Arogya Karnataka

Those wishing to enrol in the affordable healthcare scheme had to wait for many hours just to get the form.
Long wait, confusion over BPL cards on day one of Arogya Karnataka
Long wait, confusion over BPL cards on day one of Arogya Karnataka

When 55-year old Nethravathi visited K C General Hospital in Bengaluru on Monday, she thought that the procedure to procure an Arogya Karnataka Health Card would be simple.

She decided to get herself enrolled in the scheme and stood in the queue at 11:30 am. However, even five hours later, she could not avail the card.

She carried her Aadhaar card, but the system failed to recognise her biometric data. Nethravathi’s other option was to produce the OTP generated by the system which was sent to the mobile phone linked to her Aadhaar. As she did not carry her phone along, the Kengeri resident had to return empty-handed.

The Karnataka government’s healthcare scheme, Arogya Karnataka took off among several such teething troubles on Monday.

Confusions about the application, challenges with the BPL card, no separate queues for the disabled and issues with linking the Aadhaar and ration card to the system were among the problems faced by the people on day one at the enrolment centre in Bengaluru’s K C General Hospital.

When TNM tried to obtain the card, it was a three-hour-long wait as there were only two queues to handle the rush. Many people were forced to stand in the queue just to get the form. To submit the form, they had to wait in the queue again. These forms were made available only in Kannada. 

Most people who visited the hospital said that they had read about the cards in the newspapers, and decided to get one.

“I am have been here since noon. The counters were shut for lunch in between. I came along with my family as it would be convenient for further treatment,” said Husna from Deewanarapalya. She had to wait in the queue twice. Once to avail the form, and again to submit it.

BPL card issues

Rajesh* visited the hospital to avail the Arogya Karnataka card for his family. However, only two members of the family were able to get the card.

“I was told that my brother’s name is not mentioned on the BPL card so he would not be given a card,” he complained.

However, one of the staff members at the enrolment section said this was because of a technical issue.

“In case the name of the member is not mentioned on the BPL card, they cannot avail the card. If they produce an Aadhaar card instead, they would not be able to avail the benefits that a BPL patient gets,” the staff member said.

While BPL patients get cards that read ‘Eligible’, those who fall under the APL category get ‘General’ cards.

BPL patients can receive free treatment for a list of procedures, while APL patients have to foot 70% of the treatment cost under this scheme.

No special queues

Senior citizens, patients who have undergone procedures, pregnant women and parents with newborns also had to wait in the queue for long hours as there was no separate queue for them.

As it was mandatory for patients to submit the forms in person, many had no option but to request a family member to stand in the queue and wait for their turn. Others who had turned up alone had no choice but to wait in the queue.

Lakshmi, a pregnant woman was one of the many people who stood in the queue, awaiting her turn.

“My husband stood in the queue for me for a while. Now, I have been standing as I have to submit the form in person,” she said.

Another patient, Somashekar, a resident of Ramanagara, underwent a hernia operation at K C General Hospital and is yet to be discharged. After one of the doctors suggested that he could get the card, he went to the enrolment centre. “My mother is a 70-year-old. She is standing in the queue as I cannot stand for that long. I underwent the surgery recently and have pain,” he said.

Minimal numbers

On day one, over 1100 beneficiaries received the card, according to the Department of Health and Family Welfare. 374 patients received the card in Bengaluru and in Kolar, 401 people enrolled at SNR Hospital and only 17 people enrolled at GIMS, Kalaburagi.  

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