Bhubaneswar: With the end of elections and BJD forming a new government, people are now demanding party leaders to fulfil their promises made in the manifesto. The BJD government has promised the people several things, particularly in terms of healthcare and education facilities.
Keeping this in mind, several education and health rights groups launched a week-long Pay My Bill campaign in Bhubaneswar Tuesday. Its objective is to remind the state and Central governments of their promises. The campaign took off at Bhubaneswar railway station.
Santosh Patra of Oxfam India said the campaign is the extension of ‘Yes Democracy campaign’ started before the elections to make the people aware of their rights as well as engage candidates of different political parties in fulfilling the promises made in their election manifesto. The same parties came to power again in the 17th general election and 16th Assembly election at the Centre and the state respectively.
Also, the first monsoon session of new Assembly started Tuesday. This is the golden time to make the government remember about their promises in election manifesto, Patra said.
Bikram Swain, social activist and a member of Sahayog, said a country or state can’t be strong if the popular government is undermining citizens’ health and education needs. Though both the Centre and state have been introducing and implementing many schemes (Niramaya, Sampoorna, Sunetra, Nidan, and Health Insurance), reality is different. The benefits of these schemes have never reached the people the way they should have been. As a result, financial burden on them for health and education has pushed them below poverty line.
The government should make sure healthcare (medicines, doctors, diagnosis, ambulance, infrastructure, and service providers) is freely available and accessible to all on priority basis.
Bijaylakshmi Rautray, social activist, said all the government schools need to be well-equipped; otherwise, government should control privatisation of educational institutions to protect the interest of citizens. Now, the government should pay the amount already paid by citizens for getting education or health services and treatment, she said.
At the launch of the campaign, volunteers distributed leaflets to arriving and departing passengers at the railway station and passersby to sensitise them about the health and education rights as well as entitlements for them by the elected government.
Commuters from within and outside the state were happy with the initiative and many of them were seen agreeing to be part of Pay My Bill campaign. It was launched in 18 districts of the state Tuesday where poor people who had spent huge money on healthcare were asked to send their bills to the government.