Several Karnataka MLAs look to cash-strapped govt to reimburse their & kin’s treatment costs
Even as the state government is in a corona-induced financial pickle, its own Covid-infected-and-cured lawmakers expect it refund the expenses on their hospital stay and treatment. Even more blatantly, they want the government to large-heartedly pick up the tab for their kith and kin’s Covid-related expenses too! Needless to say, each of these bills runs into several lakhs.
Take, for instance, Anil Benake, BJP MLA from Belagavi North. He got a bill for Rs 8.55 lakh, which includes Rs 1.92 lakh on his treatment and the remainder on treatment for his wife, daughter and parents.
Then there is the BJP’s Raibag MLA Duryodhana Aihole, who has submitted a Rs 3 lakh bill which comprises Rs 1.5 lakh each on his and his spouse’s treatment.
Bhadravathi Congress MLA BK Sangameshwar has filed a bill for Rs 5.11 lakh, out of which his treatment came to Rs 3 lakh and his wife’s to Rs 2.12 lakh.
Gurmeetakal JDS MLA Naganagouda Kandakur has filed a bill for Rs 5.52 lakh, the treatment break-up being Rs 3.29 lakh for himself and Rs 2.22 lakh for his wife.
Koppal Congress MLA Raghavendra Hitnal submitted an application for reimbursement of Rs 2.36 lakh in hospital bills, which includes Rs 1 lakh spent on treating his son and the remainder on treating his daughter.
The others who have with great alacrity submitted their hospital bills for reimbursement are: Hiriyur BJP legislator Purnima — Rs 2.29 lakh; BJP MLA CM Nimbunnanavar of Kalaghatgi — Rs 2.91 lakh; Kadur BJP MLA Belli Prakash — Rs 1.07 lakh; Nagamanmgala JDS MLA Suresh Gowda — Rs 2.24 lakh on his wife’s treatment; and Sringeri MLA TD Rajegauda — Rs 2.29 lakh.
One rule for all…hopefully!
The rules oblige the government to cover the cost of treatment for legislators and their families. But there are other requirements in the case of Covid-positive patients, which the legislators in question may or may not have adhered to. An infected person, whether private citizen or public representative, must first be registered by the government and then be referred by the government to a private hospital for Covid treatment. Only then is the patient entitled to reimbursement of the treatment costs. If a person is admitted directly to a private hospital, bypassing the government system, the government is under no obligation to bear the treatment expenses.
It will hence be interesting to see whether the government adheres to the Covid guidelines which it applies in the case of every other citizen or whether it puts on its political blinkers and refunds the hospital costs of netas and their kin.