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Home News and Update Year 2010 Cancer Patients Get a Lifeline, Discounts for Film Techies

Cancer Patients Get a Lifeline, Discounts for Film Techies

Economic Times
25 February, 2010
Kolkata, India

Railway minister Mamata Banerjee offered a lifeline to cancer patients and technicians of regional film industry by offering both categories of travellers a special concession in the railway budget. In case of cancer patients, the minister announced that such patients going for treatment or periodic check–ups will now be eligible for 100% concession in third AC and sleeper class compared to 75% earlier. However, such concession in second AC or first AC will remain unchanged at 50%.

The budget announced that technicians of regional film industry, when travelling for film production related work, will be eligible for 75% concession in second sleeper and 50% concession in higher classes in all trains. – Our Bureau

While medicos felt the new concession will help control cancer and mortality, film–makers said the move to support the regional film technicians may indeed help the industry improve prospects.

Cancer specialists applauded the move and said it will be a big relief for cancer patients who have to spend a fortune in treatment. Estimates suggest that nearly ten lakh new cancer patients are diagnosed every year in India, with around 5.5 lakh deaths annually due to the disease.

“Nearly half of the cancer patients come from states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, North–east, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh and Jharkhand, where local cancer treatment is still not well–developed. Such patients have to travel either to the South, Delhi or Mumbai. The budget announcement will be a big boon for them,” said renowned cancer specialist Suresh Advani, who is also the chief oncologist at Mumbai’s Jaslok Hospital.

Doctors said cancer patients need to follow–up for their treatment at periodic intervals, especially in the first five years when the risks of recurrence is high. “The fact remains that at present there are not more than 20 specialised cancer centres in India. It is seen that patients do not regularly come for periodic follow–up due to travel costs, which increases morbidity,” said Umanath K. Nayak, head and neck cancer surgeon at Apollo Cancer Hospital in Hyderabad.

Renowned regional film–maker Gautam Ghosh claimed this was an “extremely worthwhile” move.

“We have discussed this concession element at technicians’ meets several times and finally also sent in a proposal on this score to the railway minister. I’m very happy that Mamata Banerjee has come up with this sop. The Bengali film industry, or any others for that matter, will benefit from this concession. At least 70–80 crew members, on an average, travel on the train when a movie is being shot. The producers will benefit from this,” said Mr Ghosh.

However, leading Tollywood exhibitor and distributor Arijit Dutta felt it would be more advantageous if the technicians and their families were handed this concession when they journey on their own and not just when a movie is under production.

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