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Blood: Activists begin silent stir against ‘black laws’, demand rollback

Ranchi: Blood rights activists and civil society groups in the state began their two-day silent stir outside Jharkhand Raj Bhavan on Wednesday upping their ante against the Hemant Soren government against its recent decision to increase the rates of blood available to common people at notified blood banks terming them as black laws and one that favours privatization of blood banks. They have demanded rollback of the government order dubbing it as ‘black laws’ threatening to resort to indefinite stir if their demands aren’t met in two days. Today, activists staged dharna holding posters and banners for three hours from 2pm and will do so again tomorrow.

Atul Gera, founding president of Live Savers, a voluntary outfit working for the cause said, “Against the earlier prescribed rate of Rs 350, government run blood banks will now sell a unit of blood at Rs 1050. Rims, state’s biggest government owned hospital has already notified it. The decision will have a far reaching bearing on scores of poor patients in this tribal state.” He added that patients admitted in Ayushman scheme in private hospitals till now used to get blood almost free of cost but the latest diktat will lead to host of vagaries to them. “Most importantly, blood is collected free of cost through public donation. How can government even try to commercialise it?,” he questioned.

A view banner with the demands. TNF picture

The Jharkhand State Aids Control Society (JSACS), the nodal agency to regulate blood banks on the other hand rubbished the claims stating that the idea behind the new rule is to stop black marketing of bloods and that poor patients will still continue to get it free of cost. He said that while private hospitals used to source blood free of cost from government banks, it charged Rs 2200 from patients.

Contesting the claim, Gera wondered why can’t government launch crackdown on such erring entities if it was in know of such instances rather than shifting the burden on common people, specially the poor? “If private hospitals are resorting to malpractice, punish them. But what is the guarantee that even after raising the charges, such practice will not stop? In fact, it will be the poor patients who would be fleeced more. Government can’t shift the blame on public for its failure to implement proper regulations,” he said.

A view of protest site. TNF picture